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Clin Electroencephalogr. 1996 Jul;27(3):107-15.

Development of sleep spindles in the first year of life.

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  • 1University of Illinois Medical Center, Chicago 60612, USA.


Spindles develop in a man at 6 weeks conceptional age, at first at a low amplitude, gradually increasing in amplitude but especially in duration to a maximum at 13 weeks (mean, 6 sec; longest, 21 sec), rapidly decreasing in duration with age to 23 weeks (mean, 2.5 sec) and then slowly decreasing to the end of the first year (mean, 1.5 sec). The pause between the spindles is usually inversely related to the spindle duration and stabilizes after 23 weeks at 7 sec. The complex of spindle and pause is the longest at 10 weeks (12.5 sec), decreasing with age and stabilizing at 17 weeks at 8.1 sec. Thus, from 17 weeks until the end of the first year, spindles tend to recur every 8-9 sec, although variability is evident, especially in the duration of the pause. Synchronous spindles develop from a low value of 10% to around a 30% value until the end of the year, and asynchronous ones tend to have the same value (30%) for most of the year, except in the youngest patients. The reticular nucleus of the thalamus is known to be the generator of spindles and an increase in some size may be related to the great increase in duration, peaking at 13 weeks, and an increase in the development of the dendritic tree of this nucleus may be related to the many changes that stabilize at 23 weeks of age.

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