Distribution of REM sleep on a 90 minute sleep-wake schedule

Sleep. 1980;2(3):309-17.


Ten young adult (ages 17-21) volunteers lived on a 90 min sleep-wake schedule for 86 (n = 5) or 96 (n = 5) consecutive 90 min periods. Subjects were permitted to sleep in 30 min episodes separated by 60 min of enforced wakefulness. These bedrest episodes were monitored by electroencephalogram, electro-oculogram, and electromyogram and were scored in 30 sec epochs using standard criteria. REM sleep episodes on this schedule occurred with a clear daily cycle; 74% of REM sleep time occurred during the rising phase of the body temperature cycle. REM showed a marked tendency to recur during alternate bedrest episodes. Finally, REM and slow wave sleep occurred together during only 27 of 910 bedrest episodes. The findings support a circadian influence on the temporal distribution of REM sleep. Neither the sleep-independent nor the sleep-dependent models of REM sleep were supported by findings on the 90 min schedule.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Temperature
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Periodicity*
  • Sleep Stages
  • Sleep, REM*
  • Wakefulness*