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Nocturnal Sleep in Separated Monkey Infants

Martin Reite, MD; Robert A. Short, MS
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1978;35(10):1247-1253. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1978.01770340097011.
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• Nocturnal sleep was recorded from ten unrestrained, groupliving Macaca nemestrina (pigtail) monkey infants, using implantable multichannel biotelemetry systems, during the agitation-depression behavioral reaction that follows maternal separation. Sleep disturbances during the four nights of separation were characterized by decreases in rapid eye movement (REM) time and in the number of REM periods, and increases in REM latency. Time awake and number of arousals were increased. Slow-wave sleep was not significantly affected.

Sleep pattern changes were most pronounced the first separation night, and tended to decrease as separation continued, whereas behavioral measures of depression tended to increase as separation continued (up to four days). Sleep patterns returned to normal following reunion with the mother. Those infants who had the most severe sleep disturbances the first separation night (more time awake, less total sleep, less REM) also tended to become most depressed behaviorally later in the separation period.


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