Temporal complexity of EEG encodes human alertness

Mohammad Hadra, Amir Omidvarnia, Mostefa Mesbah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Automatic human alertness monitoring has recently become an important research topic with important applications in many areas such as the detection of drivers’ fatigue, monitoring of monotonous tasks that require a high level of alertness such as traffic control and nuclear power plant monitoring, and sleep staging. In this study, we propose that balanced dynamics of Electroencephalography (EEG) (so called EEG temporal complexity) is a potentially useful feature for identifying human alertness states. Recently, a new signal entropy measure, called range entropy (RangeEn), was proposed to overcome some limitations of two of the most widely used entropy measures, namely approximate entropy (ApEn) and Sample Entropy (SampEn), and showed its relevance for the study of time domain EEG complexity. In this paper, we investigated whether the RangeEn holds discriminating information associated with human alertness states, namely awake, drowsy, and sleep and compare its performance against those of SampEn and ApEn. Approach. We used EEG data from 60 healthy subjects of both sexes and different ages acquired during whole night sleeps. Using a 30 s sliding window, we computed the three entropy measures of EEG and performed statistical analyses to evaluate the ability of these entropy measures to discriminate among the different human alertness states. Main results. Although the three entropy measures contained useful information about human alertness, RangeEn showed a higher discriminative capability compared to ApEn and SampEn especially when using EEG within the beta frequency band. Significance. Our findings highlight the EEG temporal complexity evolution through the human alertness states. This relationship can potentially be exploited for the development of automatic human alertness monitoring systems and diagnostic tools for different neurological and sleep disorders, including insomnia.

Original languageEnglish
Article number095002
JournalPhysiological Measurement
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 30 2022


  • EEG
  • approximate entropy
  • human alertness
  • human vigilance
  • range entropy
  • sample entropy
  • temporal complexity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)

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