Autonomic consequences of arousal from sleep: mechanisms and implications

Sleep. 1996 Dec;19(10 Suppl):S193-5. doi: 10.1093/sleep/19.suppl_10.s193.


Normal spontaneous arousals from sleep are associated with transient increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and ventilation caused by large transient changes in autonomic output. These autonomic changes are out of proportion to obvious physiological need and are in excess of those observed in later periods of quiet wakefulness. This paper discusses some of the mechanisms underlying the cardio-respiratory consequences of arousal from sleep, and discusses why the normal onset of wakefulness may be associated with such large changes in autonomic output.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arousal*
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Electroencephalography
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Respiration / physiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes
  • Sleep, REM*
  • Wakefulness