The GABA(A) agonist gaboxadol improves
the quality of post-nap sleep

Mathias S, Steiger A, Lancel M.
Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry,
Kraepelinstrasse 2-10, 80804 Munich, Germany.
Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Sep;157(3):299-304


RATIONALE: Previous studies demonstrated that gaboxadol, a selective GABA(A) agonist, increases both non-REM sleep and EEG delta activity within non-REM sleep in rats and slow wave sleep (SWS) as well as low-frequency activity in the EEG within non-REM sleep in healthy humans under normal conditions. OBJECTIVE: Because the hypnotic actions of drugs may be more readily demonstrated under conditions of poor sleep quality, we investigated the influence of gaboxadol on postnap sleep. METHODS: In a randomized, placebo-controlled cross-over study using a late afternoon nap model, we assessed the effects of a single oral dose of 20 mg gaboxadol on disturbed nighttime sleep in young, healthy subjects. RESULTS: Comparisons of visually scored sleep parameters between baseline and placebo postnap nights showed that the nap prolonged sleep latency, decreased total sleep time and SWS and attenuated delta, theta and alpha activity in the EEG within non-REM sleep. Compared with the placebo postnap night, gaboxadol tended to shorten sleep latency, significantly decreased intermittent wakefulness, increased total sleep time and SWS and enhanced delta and theta activity in the non-REM EEG. Furthermore, gaboxadol increased subjective sleep quality. CONCLUSIONS: These data show that gaboxadol counteracts the disrupting effects of a nap on subsequent sleep and suggest that, in addition to promoting deep sleep and sleep maintenance, gaboxadol is able to facilitate sleep initiation and thus, exhibits significant hypnotic actions under conditions in which sleep quality is experimentally reduced.
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