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Content archived on 2024-05-29

Development of sleep: Statistical properties and the role of movement-related neural events


Primary aim: Even though normal sleep seems to most to be uninterrupted, it consists of discrete bouts of sleep and wake. Recently, it has been shown, in humans, that the duration of these bouts, historically seen as a random or pathological disruptions, follow a clear statistical pattern.

In adults the wake bouts durations exhibit a power-law distribution whereas the sleep bouts exhibit an exponential distribution; moreover, the distribution of wake bouts does not vary between species, whereas, sleep bout durations, while always following an exponential distribution, do so with a characteristic time scale changing in relation with body mass and metabolic rate.

Developmentally, (thus far only addressed in rats) the power-law distribution of wake bouts emerge s only gradually and the scale of sleep bout durations changes relative to the age of the organism. Here it is proposed to provide a full description of how these statistical patterns change across the lifespan in humans with the intent to create a novel, behavioural state-stability based, method of classifying sleep and its disorders. Secondary aim: It is known that movements in general correlate well with development; however, mechanisms governing this are unclear.

Recent findings in developmental sleep research has revealed patterns of movement-related neural events occurring in sleep that provide conditions conducive to activity-dependent development. Here it is proposed to, first, describe the human homologue of these movement-related neural events, and, second, to correlate their incidence with measures of development.

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