Long-range alpha and beta and short-range gamma EEG synchronization distinguishes phasic and tonic REM periods

Péter Simor, Ferenc Gombos, Borbála Blaskovich, Róbert Bódizs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is characterized by the alternation of two markedly different microstates, phasic and tonic REM. These periods differ in awakening and arousal thresholds, sensory processing, and spontaneous cortical oscillations. Previous studies indicate that although in phasic REM, cortical activity is independent of the external environment, attentional functions and sensory processing are partially maintained during tonic periods. Large-scale synchronization of oscillatory activity, especially in the α- and β-frequency ranges, can accurately distinguish different states of vigilance and cognitive processes of enhanced alertness and attention. Therefore, we examined long-range inter- and intrahemispheric as well as short-range electroencephalographic synchronization during phasic and tonic REM periods quantified by the weighted phase lag index. Based on the nocturnal polysomnographic data of 19 healthy adult participants, we showed that long-range inter- and intrahemispheric α and β synchrony was enhanced in tonic REM states in contrast to phasic ones, and resembled α and β synchronization of resting wakefulness. On the other hand, short-range synchronization within the γ 3-frequency range was higher in phasic compared with tonic periods. Increased short-range synchrony might reflect local and inwardly driven sensorimotor activity during phasic REM periods, whereas enhanced long-range synchrony might index frontoparietal activity that reinstates environmental alertness after phasic REM periods.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2018


  • EEG
  • REM sleep
  • frontoparietal
  • synchronization
  • weighted phase lag index

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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