Why We Nap pp 245-257 | Cite as

Napping Behavior in Narcoleptic Patients: A Four-Hour Cycle in Slow Wave Sleep

  • M. Billiard
  • J. De Koninck
  • D. Coulombe
  • A. Touzery


The issue of whether adult humans may have an endogenous, though masked, polyphasic sleep-wake tendency is of major importance in view of the proposal that people undergoing prolonged periods of work use polyphasic sleep-wake schedules. This question has been approached in several ways: by looking at sleep patterns of animals living in dangerous environments (Mukhametov et al., 1977; Pilleri, 1979); by having adult human subjects maintain different ultradian schedules (Weitzman et al., 1974; Carskadon and Dement, 1975; Moses et al., 1975; Lavie and Scherson, 1981; Lavie and Zomer, 1984); by submitting subjects to conditions of disentrainment (Campbell, 1983); and by observing the effects of self-imposed ultrashort sleep-wake schedules on yachtsmen engaged in prolonged single-handed sailing races (Stampi, 1985).


Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Total Sleep Time Slow Wave Sleep NREM Sleep Nocturnal Sleep 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baldy-Moulinier M, Arguner A, Besset A (1976): Ultradian and circadian rhythms in sleep and wakefulness. In: Narcolepsy, Guilleminault C, Dement WC, Passouant P, eds. New York: Spectrum, pp 485–498Google Scholar
  2. Berti-Ceroni G, Coccagna G, Lugaresi E (1968): Twenty four hour polygraphic recordings in narcoleptics. In: The Abnormalities of Sleep in Man, Gastaut M, Lugaresi E, Berti-Ceroni G, Coccagna G, eds. Bologna: Aulo Gaggi, pp 235–238Google Scholar
  3. Billiard M (1976): Competition between two types of sleep, and the recuperative function of REM sleep vs. NREM sleep in narcoleptics. In: Narcolepsy, Guilleminault C, Dement WC, Passouant P, eds. New York: Spectrum, pp 77–95Google Scholar
  4. Billiard M, Quera-Salva MA, De Koninck J, Besset A, Touchon J, Cadilhac J (1986): Daytime sleep characteristics and their relationships with night sleep in the narcoleptic patient. Sleep 9((1):167–174Google Scholar
  5. Broughton R (1975): Biorhythmic variations in consciousness and psychological functions. Can Psychol Rev 16:217–230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Broughton R, Mamelak M (1980): Effects of gamma-hydroxybutyrate on sleep/ wake patterns in narcolepsy-cataplexy. Can J Neurol Sci 7:23–31Google Scholar
  7. Broughton R, Valley V, Aguire M, Roberts J, Suwalski W, Dunham W (1986): Excessive daytime sleepiness and the pathophysiology of narcolepsy-cataplexy: A laboratory perspective. Sleep 9((1):205–215Google Scholar
  8. Broughton R, Dunham W, Newman J, Lutley K, Duchesne P, Rivers M (1988): Ambulatory 24-hour sleep-wake monitoring in narcolepsy-cataplexy compared to matched controls. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 70:473–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Campbell SS (1983): Human sleep patterns under conditions of disentrainment. In: Sleep’ 82, Koella WP, ed. Basel: Karger; pp 212–215Google Scholar
  10. Carskadon M, Dement WC (1975): Sleep studies on a 90-minute day. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 39:145–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. De Koninck J, Quera-Salva M, Besset A, Billiard M (1986): Are REM cycles in narcoleptic patients governed by an ultradian rhythm? Sleep 9(1):162–166Google Scholar
  12. Dement WC, Rechtschaffen A, Gulevich G (1966): The nature of the narcoleptic sleep attack. Neurology 16:18–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Godbout R, Montplaisir J (1986): All day performance variations in normal and narcoleptic subjects. Sleep 9((1):200–204Google Scholar
  14. Horne J (1988): Why We Sleep. New York: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  15. Kleitman N (1963): Sleep and Wakefulness, 2nd rev ed., Chicago: University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  16. Kripke D (1976): Biological rhythm disturbances can cause narcolepsy. In: Narcolepsy, Guilleminault C, Dement WC, Passouant P, eds. New York: Spectrum, pp 475–483Google Scholar
  17. Lavie P (1986): Ultrashort sleep-waking schedule. III. Gates and “forbidden zones” for sleep. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 63:414–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lavie P, Scherson A (1981): Ultrashort sleep-waking cycle. I. Evidence of ultradian rhythmicity in “Sleepability.” Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 52:163–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lavie P, Zomer J (1984): Ultrashort sleep-waking schedule. II. Relationship between ultradian rhythms in sleepability and the REM-NREM cycles and effects of the circadian phase. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 57:35–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meier-Koll A, Hall U, Hellwig U, Kott G, Meier-Koll U (1978): A biological oscillator system and the development of sleep-waking behavior during early infancy. Chronobiologia 6:301–308Google Scholar
  21. Montplaisir J, Billiard M, Takahashi S, Bell I, Guilleminault C, Dement WC (1978): Twenty-four-hours polygraphic recording in naroleptics with special reference to nocturnal sleep disturbance. Biol Psychiatr 13:73–89Google Scholar
  22. Moses JM, Hord DL, Lubin A, Johnson LC, Naitoh P (1975): Dynamics of nap sleep during a 40 hour period. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 39:627–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mukhametov LM, Supin AY, Polyakova IG (1977): Interhemispheric asymmetry of the electroencephalographic sleep patterns in dolphins. Brain Res 134:581–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Nakagawa Y (1980): Continuous observations of EEG patterns at night and in daytime of normal subjects under restrained conditions I. Quiescent state when lying down. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 49:524–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Passouant P, Popoviciu L, Velok G, Baldy-Moulinier M (1968): Etude polygraphique des narcoleptiques au cours du nycthémère. Rev Neurol (Paris) 118:431–441Google Scholar
  26. Passouant P, Halberg F, Genicot R, Popoviciu L, Baldy-Moulinier M (1969): La périodicité des accès narcoleptiques et le rythme ultradien du sommeil rapide. Rev Neurol (Paris) 121:155–164Google Scholar
  27. Pilleri G (1979): The blind Indus dolphin (Platanista indi). Endeavour 3:48–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rechtschaffen A, Wolpert EA, Dement WC, Mitchel SA, Fisher C (1963): Nocturnal sleep of narcoleptics. Sleep 15:599–609Google Scholar
  29. Richardson CS, Carskadon MA, Flagg W, Van den Hoed J, Dement WC, Mitler M (1978): Excessive daytime sleepiness in man: Multiple sleep latency measurements in narcoleptic and control subjects. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 45:621–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schulz H (1985): Ultradian rhythms in the nycthemeron of narcoleptic patients and normal subjects. In: Ultradian Rhythms in Physiology and Behavior, Schulz H, Lavie P, eds. Berlin and New York: Springer-Verlag, pp 165–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stampi C (1985): Ultrashort sleep-wake cycles improve performance during one-man transatlantic races. In: Sleep’ 84, Koella W, Ruther E, Schulz M, eds. Stuttgart: Gustav Fisher Verlag, pp 271–272Google Scholar
  32. Stampi C, Moffit A, Hoffman R (1990): Leonardo da Vinci’s polyphasic ultrashort sleep: A strategy for sleep reduction? I. Sleep architecture. Sleep Res 19:408Google Scholar
  33. Strogatz SH, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA (1987): Circadian pacemaker interferes with sleep onset at specific times each day: Role in insomnia. Am J Physiol 253:R172–R178Google Scholar
  34. Takahashi Y, Jimbo M (1963): Polygraphic study of narcoleptic syndrome with special reference to hypnagogic hallucinations and cataplexy. Follia Psychiatr Neurol Jpn, Suppl. 7:343–347Google Scholar
  35. Weitzman E, Nogeire C, Perlow M, Fukushima D, Sassin J, McGregor O, Gallagher T, Hellman L (1974): Effects of a prolonged 3-hour sleep wakefulness cycle on sleep stages, plasma cortisol, growth hormone and body temperature in man. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 38:1018–1030CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Zulley J (1988): The four-hour sleep wake cycle. Sleep Res 17:403Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Billiard
  • J. De Koninck
  • D. Coulombe
  • A. Touzery

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations