• circadian rhythm;
  • Cyclic Alternating Pattern (CAP);
  • polysomnography;
  • sleep;
  • sleep deprivation;
  • sleep homeostasis

SUMMARY  Two separate groups of healthy subjects aged between 20 and 30 years underwent a random sequence of two non-consecutive polysomnographic recordings under standard conditions (night basal sleep) and after continuous sleep deprivation (recovery sleep). In the first group of 6 subjects (3 males and 3 females) recovery sleep occurred in the morning (after 24 h of prior waking); in the second group of 6 subjects (3 males and 3 females) recovery sleep occurred in the night (after 36 h of prior waking). In all cases the recording time was restricted to 500 minutes. Scoring was accomplished on conventional sleep variables and on Cyclic Alternating Pattern (CAP) parameters, while statistical analysis was based on a 2 times 2 ANOVA test. Compared to the night basal conditions, total sleep time and total NREM sleep were significantly longer in night recovery sleep and shorter in morning recovery sleep, respectively. No significant differences were found for sleep latency, intra-sleep awakenings, stage 2, REM sleep, NREM stages and slow-wave sleep. Total CAP time, CAP time in slow-wave sleep and all CAP rates were significantly higher in morning recovery sleep and lower in night recovery sleep. The enhanced amounts of CAP time and CAP rates during morning recovery sleep may be the outcome of two opposite forces, i.e. high sleep pressure versus maximum wake propensity. In contrast, the lower values of CAP during night recovery sleep suggest an in-phase associations between strong sleep pressure and the circadian clock.