Scientific Reports 5:17159, Free full-text

Péter P. Ujma, Róbert Bódizs, Ferenc Gombos, Johannes Stintzing, Boris N. Konrad, Lisa Genzel, Axel Steiger & Martin Dresler

DOI: 10.1038/srep17159


Sleep spindles are thalamocortical oscillations in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, that play an important role in sleep-related neuroplasticity and offline information processing. Several studies with full-night sleep recordings have reported a positive association between sleep spindles and fluid intelligence scores, however more recently it has been shown that only few sleep spindle measures correlate with intelligence in females, and none in males. Sleep spindle regulation underlies a circadian rhythm, however the association between spindles and intelligence has not been investigated in daytime nap sleep so far. In a sample of 86 healthy male human subjects, we investigated the correlation between fluid intelligence and sleep spindle parameters in an afternoon nap of 100 minutes. Mean sleep spindle length, amplitude and density were computed for each subject and for each derivation for both slow and fast spindles. A positive association was found between intelligence and slow spindle duration, but not any other sleep spindle parameter. As a positive correlation between intelligence and slow sleep spindle duration in full-night polysomnography has only been reported in females but not males, our results suggest that the association between intelligence and sleep spindles is more complex than previously assumed.