Polygraphic sleep cycle studies--comprising simultaneous recording of electroencephalogram (EEG), electrocardiogram (ECG), electro-oculogram (ECOG), phasic body activity and respiration--were performed on 19 term newborn babies born to severely undernourished mothers, and results compared with 19 healthy newborn babies. The sleep cycle in babies of undernourished mothers showed disorganisation during active rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and quiet nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. The sleep disorganisation was more pronounced during quiet NREM sleep when frequent phasic activity and ocular movements were registered, thereby leading to a significant increase in the content of intermediate sleep. Furthermore, the duration of total sleep cycle and its components, active REM and quiet NREM sleep, were significantly shortened.
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