Fragmenting sleep diminishes its recuperative value

Sleep. 1987 Dec;10(6):590-9.


The recuperative effects of naps fragmented by different rates of electroencephalographic (EEG) arousal were evaluated. Forty healthy subjects with normal hearing and daytime sleep tendency (measured by the Multiple Sleep Latency Test at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.) were randomly assigned to one of five conditions. Each was deprived of sleep for one night and then at 8:30 a.m. was given 100 min of natural sleep, sleep with arousals 1/5 min, 1/3 min, 1/1 min, or no sleep. After the recovery nap at 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m., sleep latencies were again evaluated. Mean sleep latencies increased linearly as the rate of arousal during the recuperative nap decreased. Latency in the high-arousal condition was similar to no sleep and lower than natural sleep. The sleep latency of the low-arousal condition was similar to natural sleep and higher than no sleep, whereas latency in the medium arousal condition was intermediate to and differed from both natural sleep and no sleep. Although the natural sleep provided recuperation relative to no sleep or fragmented sleep, it did not restore daytime sleepiness to the screening level.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Random Allocation
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Deprivation / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Time Factors