FIGURE 2-6 Changes in sleep with age.

NOTE: Time (in minutes) for sleep latency, amount of time spent awake after initially falling asleep (WASO), rapid eye movement (REM), non-rapid eye movement (NREM), stages 1, 2, and slow-wave sleep (SWS).

SOURCE: Carskadon and Rechtschaffen (2005).

during the day and longer periods of sleep at night (Sheldon, 2002). Circadian rhythm development in the first 3 months includes: emergence of the 24-hour core body temperature cycle (1 month of age); progression of nocturnal sleeping (2 months of age); and cycling of melatonin and cortisol hormones in a circadian rhythm (3 months of age) (Jenni and Carskadon, 2000).

Sleep cycles also change because of the emergence of the circadian rhythm and a greater responsiveness to social cues (such as breast-feeding and bedtime routines). By 3 months of age, sleep cycles become more regular: sleep onset now begins with NREM, REM sleep decreases and shifts to the later part of the sleep cycle, and the total NREM and REM sleep cycle is typically 50 minutes (Anders et al., 1995; Jenni and Carskadon, 2000). By 6 months of age, total sleep time reduces slightly and the longest continuous sleep episode lengthens to approximately 6 hours (Anders et al., 1995; Jenni and Carskadon, 2000). As sleep cycles mature, the typical muscle paralysis of REM sleep replaces the propensity for movement in what was called “active sleep” as a newborn. By 12 months old, the infant typically sleeps 14 to 15 hours per day with the majority of sleep consolidated in the evening and during one to two naps during the day (Anders et al., 1995).

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement