Alpha Intrusion

Definition - What does Alpha Intrusion mean?

Alpha intrusion is a biochemical abnormality where excess alpha wave frequencies occur in the brain causing disruptive sleep patterns, in particular, interfering with an individual’s ability to enter deep sleep cycles. An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a clinical procedure for analyzing bioelectric activity that encompasses the monitoring and tracking of alpha wave rhythms as a metric in diagnosing sleep disorders. Although alpha waves are an otherwise normal physiological function during periods of wakefulness, people with fibromyalgia are susceptible to persistent alpha wave intrusions that can lead to restlessness and chronic fatigue.

WorkplaceTesting explains Alpha Intrusion

Because alpha intrusion is often symptomatic of fibromyalgia, lethargy and ongoing pain can impede daily activities that require motor coordination and strength, cognitive functionality, and stamina. While medical evidence suggests that alpha waves are beneficial in promoting creative skills and diminishing generalized pain, fibromyalgia patients undergo the opposite effect of having sleep disturbances from alpha intrusions followed by daytime sleepiness and a decreased pain threshold. This phenomenon happens when the individual does not enter the deep sleep mode, wherein delta wave range falls between .3 and 5 hertz (Hz) in comparison to alpha wave patterns remaining static between 8 and 13 hertz per second.

Many experts believe that the interrelationship between fibromyalgia and light sleep patterns is a critical factor of an underlying neurological condition or immune system dysfunction based on a patient’s concomitant symptoms including hypersensitivity to pain, impaired cognition, general malaise, and inefficient work habits. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) may contribute to sleep problems where the sympathetic nervous system remains engaged during circadian rhythm cycles. Moreover, evidence indicates that the body’s inability to transition to the corresponding parasympathetic nervous system that triggers a restful state may serve as a culprit in poor quality of sleep.

Since alpha intrusion is often suspect of fibromyalgia, individuals are likely to display erratic behavior consistent with their medical condition that can undermine job performance standards. Consequently, ergonomic solutions and an open line of communication can avoid potential discrimination against individuals with fibromyalgia. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family Medical Leave Act are federal mandates to protect individuals with legitimate health conditions.

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