As any new mother knows, getting a baby to sleep at night is an art, and perhaps using snippets from Shakespeares Hamlet may help. But the science of how babies sleep – and what their processes may have in common with their adult counterparts – could be a small step closer to being better understood.
Sleep shows dramatic changes across early development. Quiet sleep (also known as non-rapid eye movement sleep [QS/NREMS]) increases in the course of the first year of life while active sleep or rapid eye movement sleep (AS/REMS) decreases. Slow wave sleep becomes predominant in the first part of the night beginning at about two months of age. In the last 30 years, researchers have increased their knowledge about the quantitative characteristics of the sleep EEG (electroencephalogram) during development, but how sleep regulation develops in early life was not a focus of their work. Accordingly, a new study of human infants has been conducted to document changes of the sleep EEG, with a particular focus on those facets that are markers of the sleep process in adults. The results suggest that EEG markers of sleep homeostasis appear in the first postnatal months and that sleep homeostasis goes through a period of maturation.
A New Study
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