Associations between disturbed sleep and attenuated psychotic experiences in people at clinical high risk for psychosis

M. J.C. Formica*, M. Fuller-Tyszkiewicz, U. Reininghaus, M. Kempton, P. Delespaul, L. De Haan, B. Nelson, A. Mikocka-Walus, L. Olive, S. Ruhrmann, B. Rutten, A. Riecher-Rössler, G. Sachs, L. Valmaggia, M. Van Der Gaag, P. McGuire, J. Van Os, J. A. Hartmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Pre-diagnostic stages of psychotic illnesses, including'clinical high risk'(CHR), are marked by sleep disturbances. These sleep disturbances appear to represent a key aspect in the etiology and maintenance of psychotic disorders. We aimed to examine the relationship between self-reported sleep dysfunction and attenuated psychotic symptoms (APS) on a day-to-day basis. Methods Seventy-six CHR young people completed the Experience Sampling Methodology (ESM) component of the European Union Gene-Environment Interaction Study, collected through PsyMate® devices, prompting sleep and symptom questionnaires 10 times daily for 6 days. Bayesian multilevel mixed linear regression analyses were performed on time-variant ESM data using the brms package in R. We investigated the day-to-day associations between sleep and psychotic experiences bidirectionally on an item level. Sleep items included sleep onset latency, fragmentation, and quality. Psychosis items assessed a range of perceptual, cognitive, and bizarre thought content common in the CHR population. Results Two of the seven psychosis variables were unidirectionally predicted by previous night's number of awakenings: every unit increase in number of nightly awakenings predicted a 0.27 and 0.28 unit increase in feeling unreal or paranoid the next day, respectively. No other sleep variables credibly predicted next-day psychotic symptoms or vice-versa. Conclusion In this study, the relationship between sleep disturbance and APS appears specific to the item in question. However, some APS, including perceptual disturbances, had low levels of endorsement amongst this sample. Nonetheless, these results provide evidence for a unidirectional relationship between sleep and some APS in this population.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychological Medicine
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • early intervention
  • etiology
  • experience sampling methodology
  • psychotic symptoms
  • sleep disturbance


Dive into the research topics of 'Associations between disturbed sleep and attenuated psychotic experiences in people at clinical high risk for psychosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this