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Experientia

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 6–11 | Cite as

Behavioral phenomenology of sleep (somatic and vegetative)

  • P. L. Parmeggiani
Generalia

Conclusions

The foregoing analysis of behavioral sleep phenomenology shows that the most significant factual and theoretical aspects of sleep can be logically organized only according to several criteria, it being impossible to choose a singli one as truly paradigmatic. For this reason an ordinal classification of sleep phases was preferred. This fact does not detract from the usefulness of classifications based consistently on 1 criterion at a time (e.g.: synchronized-desynchronized; quiet-active; orthodoxical-paradoxical; NREM-REM; homeostatic-poikilostatic; spindle wave-slow wave-fast wave; external appetitive-internal appetitive-internal consummatory; and so on). In this respect, the bioelectrical classification is surely the best as it allows an analytical subdivision of the evolution of sleep with high resolving power137–139. In particular, the electroencephalographic activity of late phase II (stage 4 in man139 and slow wave11 or deep slow wave140 sleep in the cat) appears to be related to the triggering mechanisms and to the quantitative regulation of the circadian amount of phase III3,5,11,140. However, in extending the field of functional implications of sleep phenomenology other criteria may be more significant. In fact, the somatic and vegetative events of sleep also lend themselves to an analysis according to the behavioral model of ethology6,141–144 and the theory of homeostasis3–5, 145, respectively. As an example, a number of classifying criteria are indicated in the table, where others, particularly neurochemical ones146,147, could be added. At any rate, the difficulty of organizing sleep events into a satisfactory operational scheme is due to the fact that sleep is still an open problem as far as its mechanisms and functional significance are concerned.

Keywords

Late Phase Functional Significance Slow Wave11 Behavioral Model Theoretical Aspect 

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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. L. Parmeggiani
    • 1
  1. 1.Istituto di Fisiologia umanaUniversità di BolognaBolognaItalia

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