Subjective, behavioural and electrophysiological measurements of the time-course and intensity of sleep inertia after a full night of sleep /
Stewart, Craig P.
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Several recent studies have described the period of impaired alertness and performance known as sleep inertia that occurs upon awakening from a full night of sleep. They report that sleep inertia dissipates in a saturating exponential manner, the exact time course being task dependent, but generally persisting for one to two hours. A number of factors, including sleep architecture, sleep depth and circadian variables are also thought to affect the duration and intensity. The present study sought to replicate their findings for subjective alertness and reaction time and also to examine electrophysiological changes through the use of event-related potentials (ERPs). Secondly, several sleep parameters were examined for potential effects on the initial intensity of sleep inertia. Ten participants spent two consecutive nights and subsequent mornings in the sleep lab. Sleep architecture was recorded for a fiiU nocturnal episode of sleep based on participants' habitual sleep patterns. Subjective alertness and performance was measured for a 90-minute period after awakening. Alertness was measured every five minutes using the Stanford Sleepiness Scale (SSS) and a visual analogue scale (VAS) of sleepiness. An auditory tone also served as the target stimulus for an oddball task designed to examine the NlOO and P300 components ofthe ERP waveform. The five-minute oddball task was presented at 15-minute intervals over the initial 90-minutes after awakening to obtain six measures of average RT and amplitude and latency for NlOO and P300. Standard polysomnographic recording were used to obtain digital EEG and describe the night of sleep. Power spectral analyses (FFT) were used to calculate slow wave activity (SWA) as a measure of sleep depth for the whole night, 90-minutes before awakening and five minutes before awakening.