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Sleep. 1983;6(3):234-43.

Sighs during sleep in adult humans.

Abstract

We analyzed sighs (breaths with a tidal volume at least twice that of baseline breaths) during sleep in 12 normal adults. We found a total of 124 sighs in the group, with an average of 1.66 sighs/h of sleep, but with great intersubject variation (range: 1-25 sighs/night). There were sighs in all sleep stages, but there were more per hour in stage 1. 64.4% of the sighs were associated with an increase in EMG activity or EEG frequency, starting either before or immediately after the sigh. The remainder of the sighs were not associated with any arousal or sleep stage changes. The normal variability of heart rate with breathing is exaggerated during sighs, probably because of the greater inflation and the associated arousal. Sighs have larger mean inspiratory flows (Vt/Ti), expiratory flows (Vt/Te), and a larger fraction of respiratory cycle spent in inspiration (Ti/Ttot) than the previous breaths, all evidence of a change in respiratory control. Sighs during sleep may occasionally be followed by central apneas, hypoventilation, or considerable slowing of respiratory rate. Although it has been shown that a sigh renders the respiratory centers refractory to another sigh, we found that sighs sometimes occur in pairs.

PMID:
6622880
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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