In a single day we transition from vigilant wakefulness to unconscious sleep and dreaming, undergoing diverse behavioural, physiological and neural changes. While during the awake state, exogenous stimuli and endogenous changes lead to sensory reorganisation, this remapping has not been charted throughout the sleep-wake cycle. We recorded neural activity in response to a range of tones using electroencephalography during a full-night sleep, and examined whether auditory responses become more similar, dissimilar or remain unchanged between wakefulness, non-rapid (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. We found that neural similarities between pairs of auditory evoked potentials differed by conscious state in both early and late auditory processing stages. Furthermore, tone-pairs neural similarities were modulated by conscious state as a function of tone frequency, where some tone-pairs changed similarity between states and others continued unaffected. These findings demonstrate a state-, stimulus- and time-dependent functional reorganization of auditory processing across the sleep-wake cycle.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience