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Sleep. 1999 Sep 15;22(6):767-73.

Effects of humid heat exposure on human sleep stages and body temperature.

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Department of Physiology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Shimotuga, Tochigi.


The objective of this study was to confirm the effect of humid heat exposure on sleep stages and body temperature. Seven healthy male volunteers with a mean age of 22.7+/-1.63, served as the subjects. The experiments were carried out under four different conditions of room temperature and relative humidity: 29 degrees C RH 50% (29/50), 29 degrees C RH 75% (29/75), 35 degrees C RH 50% (35/50), and 35 degrees C RH 75% (35/75). The subjects wearing only shorts slept from 23:00 to 7:00 on a bed, which was covered with a 100% cotton sheet. EEG, EOG, and mental EMG were recorded through the night. Rectal temperature (Tr) and skin temperature were measured continuously. The 35/75 condition caused more wake and a lower sleep efficiency index (SEI) and stage S3+S4 than 29/50 and 29/75. Stage REM and stage 3 were significantly decreased at 35/75 than at 29/50 and 35/50. Tr was maintained at a higher level at 35/75 than under the other conditions. Mean skin temperature was higher at 35/50 and 35/75 than at 29/50 and 29/75. These results suggest that humid heat exposure during night sleep increases the thermal load to supress the sleep-evoked Tr decrease, stage 3, SWS, and REM, and increase wakefulness.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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