Development of sleep-wake patterns and non-rapid eye movement sleep stages during the first six months of life in normal infants

Pediatrics. 1982 Jun;69(6):793-8.


Thirty-one normal infants were selected for 24-hour polygraphic monitoring at different ages during the first six months of life. The development of sleep-wake distribution patterns during day and night was observed. Qualitative changes in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep as it becomes differentiated in stages 1, 2, and 3-4 were measured. Sustained periods of wake are present by 6 weeks of age. After 3 months of age, wake is predictably distributed in late afternoon and early evening. REM sleep is disproportionately distributed within sleep in 24 hours, presenting a higher percent of total sleep during the night. At 4.5 and 6 months of age, stages 2 and 3-4 NREM are coincident during the nocturnal hours and 3-4 NREM sleep peaks in the early period of the night. The decreasing proportion of REM sleep, particularly in its daytime distribution, suggests a reciprocal relationship to the developing of wakefulness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Sleep, REM / physiology
  • Wakefulness / physiology*