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Systematic trends across the night in human sleep cycles

Psychophysiology 16(3): 283-291
Systematic trends across the night in human sleep cycles
The durations of successive sleep cycles, defined according to NREM [non-rapid eye movement] (stage 2) or REM onsets, were subjected to trend analysis in 3 groups of normal subjects and in a group of elderly patients with chronic brain syndrome (CBS). NREM sleep cycles showed consistent curvilinear trends for all groups except that the trend in children was distinguished by a lengthy 1st NREM cycle. REM sleep cycles showed quite similar curvilinear trends for the 3 normal age groups with the middle 2 cycles being longer than the 1st and 4th. In the CBS patients, REM sleep cycles did not show a significant trend across the night. Real-time cycles (i.e., with time awake included) manifested trends quite similar to those excluding waking. The trends in sleep cycle durations are normative characteristics of sleep which may not be apparent on a single night. A more constant cycle was found in the CBS elderly and may indicate brain pathology. Sleep cycle trends, along with such other temporal characteristics as the decline in stage 4, may provide clues to the metabolic processes which underlie the sleep EEG. They also provide a more exact basis for investigation of hypothesized biorhythm correlates of NREM-REM cycles.

Accession: 006574342

PMID: 220659

DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-8986.1979.tb02991.x

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