Dynamics of the sleep EEG after an early evening nap: experimental data and simulations

Am J Physiol. 1996 Sep;271(3 Pt 2):R501-10. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1996.271.3.R501.


Increasing sleep pressure is associated with highly predictable changes in the dynamics of the sleep electroencephalogram (EEG). To investigate whether the effects of reduced sleep pressure also can be accounted for by homeostatic mechanisms, nighttime sleep following an evening nap was recorded in healthy young men. In comparison with the baseline night, sleep latency in the postnap night was prolonged, rapid eye movement sleep (REMS) latency was reduced, and EEG power density in non-REMS was decreased in the delta and theta band. The buildup of both EEG slow-wave activity (SWA; power density in the 0.75-to 4.5-Hz range) and spindle frequency activity (SFA; power density in the 12.25-to 15.0-Hz range) in non-REMS episodes was diminished (SWA: episodes 1-3; SFA: episode 1). The typical declining trend of SWA over consecutive non-REM sleep episodes was attenuated. The time course of SWA could be closely simulated with a homeostatic model of sleep regulation, although some discrepancies in level and buildup of SWA were apparent. We conclude that homeostatic mechanisms can largely account for the dynamics of the sleep EEG under conditions of reduced sleep pressure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology