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The return to the polysomnographically defined awake state from any non-REM or REM sleep stages. It is characterized by alpha and beta EEG activity, a rise in tonic EMG, voluntary rapid eye movements, and eye blinks. This definition of awakenings is valid only insofar as the polysomnogram is paralleled by a resumption of a reasonably alert state of awareness of the environment.

Definition reprinted with permission from Culebras, Antonio, Clinical Handbook of Sleep Disorders, Butterworth-Heinemann