A study of the dynamic interactions between sleep EEG and heart rate variability in healthy young men

F Jurysta, P van de Borne, P-F Migeotte, M Dumont, J-P Lanquart, J-P Degaute, P Linkowski
Clinical Neurophysiology: Official Journal of the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology 2003, 114 (11): 2146-55

OBJECTIVE: We investigated the interactions between heart rate variability and sleep electroencephalogram power spectra.

METHODS: Heart rate and sleep electroencephalogram signals were recorded in 8 healthy young men. Spectral analysis was applied to electrocardiogram and electroencephalogram recordings. Spectral components of RR intervals were studied across sleep stages. The cross-spectrum maximum was determined as well as coherencies, gains and phase shifts between normalized high frequency of RR intervals and all electroencephalographic frequency bands, calculated over the first 3 NREM-REM cycles.

RESULTS: RR intervals increased from awake to NREM and decreased during REM. Normalized low frequency decreased from awake to NREM and increased during REM while normalized high frequency evolved conversely. Low to high frequency ratio developed in opposition to RR intervals. Coherencies between normalized high frequency and power spectra were high for all bands. The gain was highest for delta band. Phase shift between normalized high frequency and delta differed from zero and modifications in normalized high frequency preceded changes in delta by 41+/-14 degrees.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates that: (1) all electroencephalographic power bands are linked to normalized high frequency; (2) modifications in cardiac vagal activity show predominantly parallel changes and precede changes in delta band by a phase shift corresponding to a lead of 12+/-5 min.

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