A developmental and component analysis of active sleep

Dev Psychobiol. 1996 Jan;29(1):1-22. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2302(199601)29:1<1::AID-DEV1>3.0.CO;2-Y.


A wide variety of hypotheses have been put forth that address the functional significance of active sleep. Despite the well-accepted fact that active sleep expresses itself predominantly in the perinatal period, the vast majority of these functional hypotheses are applicable largely, if not exclusively, to the adult. We build on the developmental approaches of previous researchers and propose that the individual components of active sleep (e.g., myoclonic twitches, rapid eye movements) exhibit unique developmental and phylogenetic histories and may serve independent functions in the developing organism. This dynamic perspective leads to specific experimental approaches aimed at the developmental roles of these components in the neonate, their maintenance roles in the adult, and the means by which these various components coalesce temporally in what is commonly referred to as a behavioral state.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Biological Evolution
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Phylogeny
  • Pregnancy
  • Sleep Stages / physiology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology