Traces of EEG-fMRI coupling reveals neurovascular dynamics on sleep inertia

Zhitong John Wang, Hsin Chien Lee, Chun Hsiang Chuang, Fan Chi Hsiao, Shwu Hua Lee, Ai Ling Hsu*, Changwei W. Wu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review


Upon emergence from sleep, individuals experience temporary hypo-vigilance and grogginess known as sleep inertia. During the transient period of vigilance recovery from prior nocturnal sleep, the neurovascular coupling (NVC) may not be static and constant as assumed by previous neuroimaging studies. Stemming from this viewpoint of sleep inertia, this study aims to probe the NVC changes as awakening time prolongs using simultaneous EEG-fMRI. The time-lagged coupling between EEG features of vigilance and BOLD-fMRI signals, in selected regions of interest, was calculated with one pre-sleep and three consecutive post-awakening resting-state measures. We found marginal changes in EEG theta/beta ratio and spectral slope across post-awakening sessions, demonstrating alterations of vigilance during sleep inertia. Time-varying EEG-fMRI coupling as awakening prolonged was evidenced by the changing time lags of the peak correlation between EEG alpha-vigilance and fMRI-thalamus, as well as EEG spectral slope and fMRI-anterior cingulate cortex. This study provides the first evidence of potential dynamicity of NVC occurred in sleep inertia and opens new avenues for non-invasive neuroimaging investigations into the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying brain state transitions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1537
Pages (from-to)1537
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 17 01 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024. The Author(s).


  • Humans
  • Electroencephalography/methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Sleep/physiology
  • Brain/diagnostic imaging
  • Wakefulness/physiology
  • Neurovascular Coupling


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