Dynamics of sleep-wake transitions during sleep

C. C. Lo*, L. A Nunes Amaral, S. Havlin, P. Ch Ivanov, T. Penzel, J. H. Peter, H. E. Stanley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


We study the dynamics of the awakening during the night for healthy subjects and find that the wake and the sleep periods exhibit completely different behavior: the durations of wake periods are characterized by a scale-free power law distribution, while the durations of sleep periods have an exponential distribution with a characteristic time scale. We find that the characteristic time scale of sleep periods changes throughout the night. In contrast, there is no measurable variation in the power law behavior for the durations of wake periods. We develop a stochastic model which agrees with the data and suggests that the difference in the dynamics of sleep and wake states arises from the constraints on the number of microstates in the sleep-wake system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-631
Number of pages7
JournalEurophysics Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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