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Sleep. 2005 Nov;28(11):1446-54.

Homeostatic sleep regulation in adolescents.

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E P Bradley Hospital Chronobiology and Sleep Research Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Brown Medical School, Providence, RI, USA.



To examine the effects of total sleep deprivation on adolescent sleep and the sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) and to study aspects of sleep homeostasis.


Subjects were studied during baseline and recovery sleep after 36 hours of wakefulness.


Four-bed sleep research laboratory.


Seven prepubertal or early pubertal children (pubertal stage Tanner 1 or 2 = Tanner 1/2; mean age 11.9 years, SD +/- 0.8, 2 boys) and 6 mature adolescents (Tanner 5; 14.2 years, +/- 1.4, 2 boys).


Thirty-six hours of sleep deprivation.


All-night polysomnography was performed. EEG power spectra (C3/A2) were calculated using a Fast Fourier transform routine.


In both groups, sleep latency was shorter, sleep efficiency was higher, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stage 4 was increased, and waking after sleep onset was reduced in recovery relative to baseline sleep. Spectral power of the NREM sleep EEG was enhanced after sleep deprivation in the low-frequency range (1.6-3.6 Hz in Tanner 1/2; 0.8-6.0 Hz in Tanner 5) and reduced in the sigma range (11-15 Hz). Sleep deprivation resulted in a stronger increase of slow-wave activity (EEG power 0.6-4.6 Hz, marker for sleep homeostatic pressure) in Tanner 5 (39% above baseline) than in Tanner 1/2 adolescents (18% above baseline). Sleep homeostasis was modeled according to the two-process model of sleep regulation. The build-up of homeostatic sleep pressure during wakefulness was slower in Tanner 5 adolescents (time constant of exponential saturating function 15.4 +/- 2.5 hours) compared with Tanner 1/2 children (8.9 +/- 1.2 hours). In contrast, the decline of the homeostatic process was similar in both groups.


Maturational changes of homeostatic sleep regulation are permissive of the sleep phase delay in the course of adolescence.

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