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Alpha wave may affect sleep quality

Waking brain activity persists during slumber

By
6:39pm, March 4, 2011

Making waves isn’t conducive to staying asleep, at least when the waves are a type of brain signal associated with being awake.

A type of brain activity known as an alpha wave emanates from the back of the head when a person is awake but relaxing with eyes closed. Scientists used to think that the wave was subdued and disappeared as a person fell deeper and deeper into sleep.

But the alpha wave doesn’t disappear; it just goes undercover during sleep, researchers report online March 3 in PLoS One. The covert alpha wave may help determine how deeply people sleep and how much noise is needed to rouse a sleeper.

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