Two features of sleep slow waves: Homeostatic and reactive aspects - from long term to instant sleep homeostasis

Péter Halász, Róbert Bódizs, Liborio Parrino, Mario Terzano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

30 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we reviewed results of sleep research that have changed the views about sleep slow wave homeostasis, which involve use-dependent and experience-dependent local aspects to understand more of the physiology of plastic changes during sleep. Apart from the traditional homeostatic slow-wave economy, we also overviewed research on the existence and role of reactive aspects of sleep slow waves. Based on the results from spontaneous and artificially evoked slow waves, we offer a new hypothesis on instant slow wave homeostatic regulation. This regulation compensates for any potentially sleep-disturbing events by providing instant "delta injections" to maintain the nightly delta level, thus protecting cognitive functions located in the frontal lobe. We suggest that this double (long-term/instant) homeostasis provides double security for the frontal lobes in order to protect cognitive functions. The incorporation of reactive slow wave activity (SWA) makes sleep regulation more dynamic and provides more room for the internalization of external influences during sleep.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1184-1195
Number of pages12
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2014



  • Cyclic Alternating Pattern (CAP)
  • Instant sleep homeostasis
  • K-complex
  • Plastic sleep functions
  • Reactive slow waves
  • Sleep homeostasis
  • Sleep slow oscillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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