Gene targeted mice can be used as models to investigate the mechanisms underlying sleep regulation. Three commonly used background strains for gene targeting (129/Ola, 129/SvJ and C57BL/6J) were subjected to 4-h and 6-h sleep deprivation (SD), and their sleep and sleep EEG were continuously recorded. The two-process model of sleep regulation has predicted the time course of slow-wave activity (SWA) in nonREM sleep after several sleep-wake manipulations in humans and the rat  . We tested the capacity of the model to predict SWA in nonREM sleep on the basis of the temporal organization of sleep in mice. The strains differed in the amount and distribution of sleep and the time course of SWA. After spontaneous waking episodes of 10-30 min as well as after SD, SWA was invariably increased. Simulations of the time course of SWA were successful for 129/SvJ and C57BL/6J, but were not satisfactory for 129/Ola. Since the time constants are assumed to reflect the dynamics of the physiological processes involved in sleep regulation, the results provide a basis for the use of gene targeted mice to investigate the underlying mechanisms.