Sleep onset is associated with marked changes in behavioral, physiological, and subjective phenomena. In daily life though subjective experience is the main criterion in terms of which we identify it. But very few studies have focused on these experiences. This study seeks to identify the subjective variables that reflect sleep onset. Twenty young subjects took an afternoon nap in the laboratory while polysomnographic recordings were made. They were awakened four times in order to assess subjective experiences that correlate with the (1) appearance of slow eye movement, (2) initiation of stage 1 sleep, (3) initiation of stage 2 sleep, and (4) 5 min after the start of stage 2 sleep. A logistic regression identified control over and logic of thought as the two variables that predict the perception of having fallen asleep. For sleep perception, these two variables accurately classified 91.7% of the cases; for the waking state, 84.1%.
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