Development of Circadian Sleep-Wake Rhythms in Preterm and Full-Term Infants

Abstract

ABSTRACT: We have compared the roles of neurologic maturity and environmental time cues in the development of the entrained circadian sleep-wake rhythm in the preterm and term human infant. The preterm infants (n = 19) spent some time after birth in a hospital nursery with no environmental time cues, whereas the term infants (n = 22) were exposed from birth to a cyclical light and dark environment with one major caregiver. The circadian sleep-wake rhythm in the preterm infants entrained after a similar time of exposure to an environment with daily time cues but at an earlier postconceptional age when compared with the term group. We conclude, therefore, that it is the length of exposure to environmental time cues, rather than neurologic maturity, that determines the entrainment of the circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness in the human infant.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to I Caroline McMillen.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

McMillen, I., Kok, J., Adamson, T. et al. Development of Circadian Sleep-Wake Rhythms in Preterm and Full-Term Infants. Pediatr Res 29, 381–384 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1203/00006450-199104000-00010

Download citation

Further reading