[Sleep maturation in the first two years of life: quantitative aspects, structural and circadian]

Neurophysiol Clin. 1998 Dec;28(6):477-91. doi: 10.1016/s0987-7053(99)80017-3.
[Article in French]


This study presents results on sleep maturation during the first two years of life, based on a longitudinal study of 15 normal children recorded at home over 24 hours at the ages of 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months. The development of the different stages and parameters of sleep was studied in quantitative, structural and circadian terms. To do so, various analyses were performed on the polygraphic recording data interpreted using the "adult" criteria suggested by Rechtschaffen et Kales in 1968. Results show the very early presence of some adult sleep parameters, such as the stable mean duration of episodes of paradoxical sleep (PS), the rapid decrease in the amount of this sleep stage, which reaches adult levels by the age of 9 months, the large amount of slow wave sleep in the first sleep cycle from the age of 3 months and the stability of the acrophase of the PS circadian rhythm. The position of the acrophase corresponds to the period of high PS density at the end of the night in adults. Other parameters, such as the increase in stages 1 and 2 of slow wave sleep, the increase in the latency of PS with disappearance at 9 months of PS onset, and the increase in stability of sleep with a decrease in nocturnal waking and body movements, are related to the maturation of the central nervous system structures implicated in the mechanisms of sleep (maturation of the thalamo-cortical pathways and the rostro-caudal pons-thalamus connections). These maturation processes may be markedly influenced by the environment. Finally, the increase with age in the amplitude of the sleep circadian rhythm may lead to both lengthening of the sleep cycle at the age of 12 months and development of the homeostatic process of sleep analysed by temporal changes in slow wave sleep.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • English Abstract
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Central Nervous System / physiology
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep, REM / physiology