REM sleep deprivation during 5 hours leads to an immediate REM sleep rebound and to suppression of non-REM sleep intensity

D.G.M. Beersma, D.J. Dijk, Guus Blok, I. Everhardus

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Nine healthy male subjects were deprived of REM sleep during the first 5 h after sleep onset. Afterwards recovery sleep was undisturbed. During the deprivation period the non-REM EEG power spectrum was reduced when compared to baseline for the frequencies up to 7 Hz, despite the fact that non-REM sleep was not experimentally disturbed. During the recovery interval a significant rebound of REM sleep was observed, which was only accompanied by a very slight increase of power in the lower non-REM EEG frequencies. In order to control for intermittent wakefulness, the same subjects were subjected to non-REM sleep interruption during the first 5 h after sleep onset 2 weeks later. Again subsequent recovery sleep was undisturbed. The interventions resulted in a similar amount of wakefulness in both conditions. During the intervention period, the non-REM EEG power spectrum was only marginally reduced in the delta frequency range. REM sleep duration was only slightly reduced. During the recovery interval, however, a substantial increase in EEG power in the delta frequency range was noted, without notable changes in REM time. It is concluded that an increased pressure for REM sleep results in longer REM episodes and a reduced intensity of non-REM sleep.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)114-122
Number of pages9
JournalElectroencephalography and clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug-1990


  • EEG power spectrum
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Non-REM sleep
  • REM sleep

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