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March 1958

Sleep, Consciousness, and the Alpha Electroencephalographic Rhythm

Author Affiliations

Fort Steilacoom, Wash.

From the Mental Health Research Institute, State of Washington.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;79(3):328-335. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340030092015

This paper is concerned with the relationship of consciousness, or awareness of immediate environment, to cerebral cortical activity as demonstrated by the electroencephalogram. Relation of sleep to electroencephalographic patterns has long been known to be a fixed and organized one, for the normal waking resting EEG pattern of any subject always changes during drowsy states and reflects then the relative depth of sleep by its gradual changes.2 Furthermore, cortical excitability is known to be augmented during the drowsy phase. In the epileptic, there is a high incidence of seizures during the drowsy period, and paroxysmal focal patterns may appear thus in such subjects but never otherwise during the wakened period.2 For this latter reason sleep is desirable during EEG recordings, and, in our laboratory as well as in many others, its presence is noted during the recording period. The temporal lobes are known to show particular variability during