Ontogenesis of circadian sleep-wakefulness rhythms and other developmental changes of sleep were examined in the altricial rat and in the precocial guinea pig. Circadian sleep-wakefulness rhythms began to emerge on the 4th-4.5th week after birth in rats born and raised not only under light-dark (LD) 12:12 h lighting schedule but also under a constant light condition. Only ultradian rhythms were recognized in the rat up to 2.5-3.5 weeks after birth. Unlike the rat, the guinea pig did not develop significant diurnal and circadian sleep rhythms during the course of its growth. Sleep-wakefulness rhythms of the 1-week-old infant guinea pig were very similar to those of the adult. During the development of the altricial rat the periods of slow wave sleep (SWS) and paradoxical sleep (PS) cycles, and the amounts of SWS per day increased. On the other hand, the amounts of PS per day and the length of the PS episodes decreased. For the guinea pig, however, these parameters of sleep were apparently constant throughout development.