EEG Recording and Analysis for Sleep Research

Ian G. Campbell1

1 University of California, Davis, Davis, California
Publication Name:  Current Protocols in Neuroscience
Unit Number:  Unit 10.2
DOI:  10.1002/0471142301.ns1002s49
Online Posting Date:  October, 2009
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The electroencephalogram (EEG) is the most common tool used in sleep research. This unit describes the methods for recording and analyzing the EEG. Detailed protocols describe recorder calibration, electrode application, EEG recording, and computer EEG analysis with power spectral analysis. Computer digitization of an analog EEG signal is discussed, along with EEG filtering and the parameters of fast Fourier transform (FFT) power spectral analysis. Sample data are provided for a typical night's analysis of EEG during NREM (non‐REM) and REM sleep. Curr. Protoc. Neurosci. 49:10.2.1‐10.2.19. © 2009 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Keywords: sleep; spectral analysis; EEG

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Basic Protocol 1: Calibrating the EEG Recorder
  • Basic Protocol 2: Applying Electrodes for Human EEG Studies
  • Basic Protocol 3: Recording the EEG
  • Basic Protocol 4: Analyzing EEG Data
  • Commentary
  • Literature Cited
  • Figures
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Basic Protocol 1: Calibrating the EEG Recorder

  • Ambulatory EEG recorder (e.g., Grass Aura, Lifelines Trackit, and Embla)
  • Battery power source for recorder
  • Cables and connectors to connect calibration equipment to EEG recorder
  • Function generator that can produce a sine wave approximately the same amplitude of an EEG signal, i.e., about 200 µV (e.g., Grass‐Technologies, Neurotronics, and Falk Minnow Services produce devices that generate signals in this range with ∼98% accuracy)
  • Grass Square Wave Calibrator (used as voltage dividers)
  • Voltmeter or oscilloscope
  • Computer for recorder setup
  • Connection between computer and recorder
  • EEG analysis software, such as PassPlus from Delta Software
  • Computer for data download

Basic Protocol 2: Applying Electrodes for Human EEG Studies

  • Subject who has provided informed consent and is dressed in sleeping attire
  • 70% (v/v) isopropyl alcohol
  • Abrading cream, such as NuPrep, SkinPure, or Lemon Prep from a supplier such as Integra NeuroSupplies or MVAP
  • Electrode conductive paste, such as Ten20 (MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • Collodion (produced by Mavidon Medical available from MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • Electrode conductive gel, such as Signa gel (MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • Acetone
  • Calibrated EEG recorder (see protocol 1)
  • A well‐ventilated room for electrode application
  • Tape measure
  • Grease pencil
  • Hair clips or hairpins
  • Gauze pads 2‐in. × 2‐in.
  • Cotton‐tipped applicators
  • EEG electrodes—gold or silver/silver chloride 10‐mm diameter cup electrodes with a 48 in. wire lead with safety connector (Grass, MVAP, and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • Gauze pad separated from four layer thickness to two layer thickness and trimmed to 3.5‐cm × 2.5‐cm
  • Petri dish
  • Air compressor (20 PSI output) with foot pedal switch and ∼4 m of tubing attached to an electrode applicator tip (MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • 1‐in. wide adhesive type tape such as 3M Durapore or 3M Transpore White (MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • ½‐in. wide adhesive type tape
  • Connection from electrodes to EEG recorder such as a head‐box or electrode connector box, typically supplied with the EEG recorder
  • Impedance meter, such as Grass EZM
NOTE: Rather than metric units, materials are listed in commonly available dimensions.

Basic Protocol 3: Recording the EEG

  • Subject with applied electrodes (see protocol 2)
  • Non‐acetone collodion remover such as Mavidon Collodion Remover (MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)
  • Calibrated EEG recorder (see protocol 1)
  • Fresh batteries or recharged battery pack
  • Storage media (e.g., compact flash card)
  • Adhesive tape remover pads (produced by Dynarex supplied by (MVAP and Integra NeuroSupplies)

Basic Protocol 4: Analyzing EEG Data

  • Fast Fourier transform (FFT) analysis software
  • EEG analysis software (e.g., PassPlus)
  • Computer for data download
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Literature Cited

Literature Cited
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