Thirty-one normal infants were selected for 24-hour polygraphic monitoring at different ages during the first six months of life. The development of sleep-wake distribution patterns during day and night was observed. Qualitative changes in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep as it becomes differentiated in stages 1, 2, and 3-4 were measured. Sustained periods of wake are present by 6 weeks of age. After 3 months of age, wake is predictably distributed in late afternoon and early evening. REM sleep is disproportionately distributed within sleep in 24 hours, presenting a higher percent of total sleep during the night. At 4.5 and 6 months of age, stages 2 and 3-4 NREM are coincident during the nocturnal hours and 3-4 NREM sleep peaks in the early period of the night. The decreasing proportion of REM sleep, particularly in its daytime distribution, suggests a reciprocal relationship to the development of wakefulness.

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