Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia During Sleep and Waking Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract. Resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) is related to individual differences in waking affective style and self-regulation. However, little is known about the stability of RSA between sleep/wake stages or the relations between RSA during sleep and waking affective style. We examined resting RSA in 25 healthy undergraduates during the waking state and one night of sleep. Stability of cardiac variables across sleep/wake states was highly reliable within participants. As predicted, greater approach behavior and lower impulsivity were associated with higher RSA; these relations were evident in early night Non-REM (NREM) sleep, particularly in slow wave sleep (SWS). The current research extends previous findings by establishing stability of RSA within individuals between wake and sleep states, and by identifying SWS as an optimal period of measurement for relations between waking affective style and RSA.


  • Stoakley, Elizabeth M
  • Mathewson, Karen J
  • Schmidt, Louis
  • Cote, Kimberly A

publication date

  • January 1, 2019