Infraslow oscillations in human sleep spindle activity

Zsolt I. Lazar, Derk-Jan Dijk, Alpar S. Lazar

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Background: It has previously been reported that EEG sigma (10-15 Hz) activity during sleep exhibits infraslow oscillations (ISO) with a period of 50 seconds. However, a detailed analysis of the ISO of individually identified sleep spindles is not available.

New Method: We investigated basic properties of ISO during baseline sleep of 34 healthy young human participants using a new and established methods. The analyses focused on fast sleep spindle and sigma activity (13-15 Hz) in NREM stage 2 and slow wave sleep (SWS). To describe ISO in sigma activity we analysed power of power of the EEG signal. For the study of ISO in sleep spindle activity we applied a new method in which the EEG signal was reduced to a spindle on/off binary square signal. Its spectral properties were contrasted to that of a square signal wherein the same spindles and also the inter spindle intervals were permutated randomly. This approach was validated using surrogate data with imposed ISO modulation.

Results: We confirm the existence of ISO in sigma activity albeit with a frequency below the previously reported 0.02 Hz. These ISO are most prominent in the high sigma band and over the centro-parieto-occipital regions. A similar modulation is present in spindle activity. ISO in sleep spindles are most prominent in the centro-parieto-occipital regions, left hemisphere and second half of the night independent of the number of spindles.

Conclusions: The comparison of spectral properties of binary event signals and permutated event signals is effective in detecting slow oscillatory phenomena.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-34
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Early online date17 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2019


  • EEG
  • Infraslow oscillations
  • Sigma
  • Sleep
  • Sleep spindles

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