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Neurosci Lett. 1994 Jan 17;166(1):63-8.

Paradoxical timing of the circadian rhythm of sleep propensity serves to consolidate sleep and wakefulness in humans.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.


The contribution of the circadian pacemaker and the sleep homeostat to sleep tendency and consolidation was quantified by forced desynchrony of the sleep-wake cycle from the circadian pacemaker in eight men who lived in time-isolation for 33-36 days. Analysis of 175 polygraphically recorded sleep episodes revealed that the circadian pacemaker and the sleep homeostat contribute about equally to sleep consolidation, and that the phase relationship between these oscillatory processes during entrainment to the 24-h day is uniquely timed to facilitate the ability to maintain a consolidated bout of sleep at night and a consolidated bout of wakefulness throughout the day.

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