A Biased Diffusion Approach to Sleep Dynamics Reveals Neuronal Characteristics

Hila Dvir, Jan W. Kantelhardt, Melanie Zinkhan, Frank Pillmann, Andras Szentkiralyi, Anne Obst, Wolfgang Ahrens, Ronny P. Bartsch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


We propose a biased diffusion model of accumulated subthreshold voltage fluctuations in wake-promoting neurons to account for stochasticity in sleep dynamics and to explain the occurrence of brief arousals during sleep. Utilizing this model, we derive four neurophysiological parameters related to neuronal noise level, excitability threshold, deep-sleep threshold, and sleep inertia. We provide the first analytic expressions for these parameters, and we show that there is good agreement between empirical findings from sleep recordings and our model simulation results. Our work suggests that these four parameters can be of clinical importance because we find them to be significantly altered in elderly subjects and in children with autism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)987-997
Number of pages11
JournalBiophysical journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 3 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics

Cite this

Dvir, H., Kantelhardt, J. W., Zinkhan, M., Pillmann, F., Szentkiralyi, A., Obst, A., Ahrens, W., & Bartsch, R. P. (2019). A Biased Diffusion Approach to Sleep Dynamics Reveals Neuronal Characteristics. Biophysical journal, 117(5), 987-997. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2019.07.032