The K-complex as a special reactive sleep slow wave - A theoretical update

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

29 Citations (Scopus)


We aimed to integrate new data about K-complex (KC) physiology and relate KC to other low-frequency waves observed in slow wave sleep.KC can be considered a 'prototype' of reactive sleep slow waves. Similarly to slow waves, KCs feature up- and down-states, they are subject to homeostatic regulation but they are also associated with sensory activation. As a part of the continuum of reactive sleep slow waves, the study of the KC may offer a better understanding of how slow waves are activated by the sensory system. KCs appear to have a special place among sleep slow waves and in the newly established framework of input-related NREM sleep regulation. It is a key element highlighting how the brain may choose to maintain sleep in response to a sensory input when facing the question "to wake or not to wake".

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-40
Number of pages7
JournalSleep Medicine Reviews
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Acoustic evoked responses in sleep
  • Input related NREM regulation
  • K-complex
  • Reactive sleep EEG elements
  • Sleep slow waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)

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