Quantitative analysis of the effects of slow wave sleep deprivation during the first 3 h of sleep on subsequent EEG power density

Derk Jan Dijk, Domien G.M. Beersma, Serge Daan, Gerda M. Bloem, Rutger H. van den Hoofdakker

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The relation between EEG power density during slow wave sleep (SWS) deprivation and power density during subsequent sleep was investigated. Nine young male adults slept in the laboratory for 3 consecutive nights. Spectral analysis of the EEG on the 2nd (baseline) night revealed an exponential decline in mean EEG power density (0.25-15.0 Hz) over successive nonrapid eye movement - rapid eye movement sleep cycles. During the first 3 h of the 3rd night the subjects were deprived of SWS by means of acoustic stimuli, which did not induce wakefulness. During SWS deprivation an attenuation of EEG power densities was observed in the delta frequencies, as well as in the theta band. In the hours of sleep following SWS deprivation both the power densities in the frequency range from 1 to 7 Hz and the amount of SWS were enhanced, relative to the same period of the baseline night. Both the amount of EEG energy accumulating subsequent to SWS deprivation and its time course could be predicted accurately from the EEG energy deficit caused by SWS deprivation. The data show that the level of integral EEG power density during a certain period after sleep onset depends on the amount of EEG energy accumulated during the preceding sleep rather than on the time elapsed since sleep onset. In terms of the two-process model of sleep regulation this finding indicates that EEG power density reflects the rate of decay of the regulating variable, S, rather than S itself, as was originally postulated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-328
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1987


  • EEG spectral analysis
  • Slow wave sleep deprivation
  • Sleep

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