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Neurosci Lett. 2003 Apr 3;340(1):17-20.

Subjective sleepiness correlates negatively with global alpha (8-12 Hz) and positively with central frontal theta (4-8 Hz) frequencies in the human resting awake electroencephalogram.

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Animal Behavior, University of Groningen, PO Box 14, NL-9750 AA The, Haren, Netherlands.


Subjective sleepiness is part of the system controlling the decision to go to sleep in humans. Extended periods of waking lead to increased sleepiness, as well as to changes in cortical electroencephalogram (EEG) during waking. We investigated the association of sleepiness and awake EEG spectra during 40 h of wakefulness using multi-electrode EEG recordings for full coverage of the scalp. We found: (1). strong negative correlations of alpha (8-12 Hz) power with subjective sleepiness at all scalp locations, suggesting a negative association between sleepiness and general cortical activation; and (2). positive correlations of theta (4-8 Hz) power with subjective sleepiness with a focus on frontal locations, suggesting additional location specific associations between sleepiness and cortical activation. These findings support the notion that sleepiness is directly represented in the awake EEG.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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