30/11/2018 Biology Medicine Psychology
DOI: 10.1101/483750 SemanticScholar ID: 92407589 MAG: 2902386294

Using EEG to characterise drowsiness during short duration exposure to elevated indoor Carbon Dioxide concentrations

Publication Summary

Drowsiness which can affect work performance, is often elicited through self- reporting. This paper demonstrates the potential to use EEG to objectively quantify changes to drowsiness due to poor indoor air quality. Continuous EEG data was recorded from 23 treatment group participants subject to artificially raised indoor CO2 concentrations (average 2,700 ± 300 ppm) for approximately 10 minutes and 13 control group participants subject to the same protocol without additional CO2 (average 830 ± 70 ppm). EEG data were analysed for markers of drowsiness according neurophysiological methods at three stages of the experiment, Baseline, High CO2 and Post-Ventilation. Treatment group participants’ EEG data yielded a closer approximation to drowsiness than that of control group participants during the High CO2 condition, despite no significant group differences in self-reported sleepiness. Future work is required to determine the persistence of these changes to EEG over longer exposures and to better isolate the specific effect of CO2 on drowsiness compared to other environmental or physiological factors. Practical implications This study introduces EEG as a potential objective indicator of the effect of indoor environmental conditions upon drowsiness Participants exposed to 2,700 ppm for 10 minutes showed greater evidence of a progression towards drowsiness (as measured by EEG) than that of participants who received the same protocol without additional CO2 (mean 830 ± 70 ppm), despite similar ratings of subjective sleepiness. Subjective and objectively measured indications of drowsiness were reduced following ventilation of the room. Future work could explore the potential of regular ventilation episodes in knowledge work spaces to retain alertness.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Catherine Noakes

Prof. Catherine Noakes

University of Leeds - Professor of Environmental Engineering for Buildings

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