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Reconfigurations in brain networks upon awakening from slow wave sleep: Interventions and implications in neural communication  (2021)
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Sleep inertia is the brief period of impaired alertness and performance experienced immediately after waking. Little is known about the neural mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. A better understanding of the neural processes during sleep inertia may offer insight into the awakening process. We observed brain activity every 15 min for 1 hr following abrupt awakening from slow wave sleep during the biological night. Using 32-channel electroencephalography, a network science approach, and a within-subject design, we evaluated power, clustering coefficient, and path length across frequency bands under both a control and a polychromatic short-wavelength-enriched light intervention condition. We found that under control conditions, the awakening brain is typified by an immediate reduction in global theta, alpha, and beta power. Simultaneously, we observed a decrease in the clustering coefficient and an increase in path length within the delta band. Exposure to light immediately after awakening ameliorated changes in clustering. Our results suggest that long-range network communication within the brain is crucial to the awakening process and that the brain may prioritize these long-range connections during this transitional state. Our study highlights a novel neurophysiological signature of the awakening brain and provides a potential mechanism by which light improves performance after waking.
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awakening, brain, communication, inertia, networks, neural, performance, sleep
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Network Neuroscience 1–20; https://doi.org/10.1162/netn_a_00272
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Curator: Phil So
NASA Official: Alonso Vera
Last Updated: August 15, 2019