Send to

Choose Destination
Sleep. 2005 Jun;28(6):694-705.

Cold exposure and sleep in the rat: effects on sleep architecture and the electroencephalogram.

Author information

Department of Human and General Physiology, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Italy.



Acute exposure to low ambient temperature modifies the wake-sleep cycle due to stage-dependent changes in the capacity to regulate body temperature. This study was carried out to make a systematic analysis of sleep parameters during the exposure to different low ambient temperatures and during the following recoveries at ambient temperature 24 degrees C.


Electroencephalographic activity, hypothalamic temperature, and motor activity were studied during a 24-hour exposure to ambient temperatures ranging from 10 degrees C to -10 degrees C and for 4 days during the recovery.


Laboratory of Physiological Regulation during the Wake-Sleep Cycle, Department of Human and General Physiology, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna.


Twenty-four male albino rats.


Animals were implanted with electrodes for electroencephalographic recording and a thermistor for measuring hypothalamic temperature.


Wake-sleep stage duration and the electroencephalographic spectral analysis performed by fast Fourier transform were compared among baseline, exposure, and recovery conditions. The amount of non-rapid eye movement sleep was slightly depressed by cold exposure, but no rebound was observed during the recovery period. Delta power during non-rapid eye movement sleep was decreased in animals exposed to the lowest ambient temperatures and increased during the first day of the recovery. In contrast, rapid eye movement sleep was greatly depressed by cold exposure and showed an increase during the recovery. Both of these effects were dependent on the ambient temperature of the exposure. Moreover, theta power was increased during rapid eye movement sleep in both the exposure and the first day of the recovery.


These findings show that sleep-stage duration and electroencephalogram power are simultaneously affected by cold exposure. The effects on rapid eye movement sleep appear mainly as changes in the duration, whereas those on non-rapid eye movement sleep are shown by changes in delta power. These effects are temperature dependent, and the decrease of both parameters during the exposure is reciprocated by an increase in the subsequent recovery.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center