Sleep shows dramatic changes across early development. Quiet sleep (also known as non-rapid eye movement sleep [QS/NREMS]) increases in the course of the first year of life while active sleep or rapid eye movement sleep (AS/REMS) decreases. Slow wave sleep becomes predominant in the first part of the night beginning at about two months of age. In the last 30 years, researchers have increased their knowledge about the quantitative characteristics of the sleep EEG (electroencephalogram) during development, but how sleep regulation develops in early life was not a focus of their work. Accordingly, a new study of human infants has been conducted to document changes of the sleep EEG, with a particular focus on those facets that are markers of the sleep process in adults. The results suggest that EEG markers of sleep homeostasis appear in the first postnatal months and that sleep homeostasis goes through a period of maturation.
A New Study
The authors of the new study, entitled "Development of the Nocturnal Sleep Electroencephalogram In Human Infants," are Oskar G Jenni, Alexander A Borbly, and Peter Achermann, all of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Their findings appear in the Articles in Press section of the Journal of Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, one of 14 scientific journals published monthly by the American Physiological Society (APS) (www.the-aps.org).