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Sleep architecture describes the structure and pattern of sleep and encompasses several variables.
- Sleep quotas refer to the amount of time spent in REM and NREM sleep.
- Sleep duration is the total time spent asleep in a 24 hour period.
- The duration of a NREM-REM cycle (from the beginning of NREM to the end of REM) is also an important aspect of sleep architecture.
- Phasing of sleep describes how sleep is distributed across a daily cycle: polyphasic sleep consists of multiple bouts of sleep in a 24 hour period, while monophasic sleep consists of a single bout of sleep in a 24 hour period and biphasic sleep contains two episodes of sleep in a 24 hour cycle.
Sleep architecture varies widely across species, and is thought to be significantly influenced by genetics. The evolution of different types of sleep architecture is influenced by a number of selective pressures, including body size, relative metabolic rate, predation, type and location of food sources, and immune function.
- McNamara, P., R. A. Barton, and C. L. Nunn. 2010, Evolution of sleep: Phylogenetic and functional perspectives. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
- Capellini, I., C. L. Nunn, P. McNamara, B. T. Preston, and R. A. Barton. 2008. Energetic constraints, not predation, influence the evolution of sleep patterning in mammals. Functional Ecology 22:847-853.
- Acerbi, A., P. McNamara, and C. L. Nunn. 2008. To sleep or not to sleep: The ecology of sleep in artificial organisms. BMC Ecology 8:10.
- Preston, B. T., I. Capellini, P. McNamara, R. A. Barton, and C. L. Nunn. 2009. Parasite resistance and the adaptive significance of sleep. Bmc Evolutionary Biology 9.
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