IN THE course of a study of individual differences among the newborn,1,2 behavioral observations of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and related spontaneous discharges were made on 2 to 3-day-old normal neonates. The observations were geared to issues which have been raised in the REM literature. The object of the observations was to replicate, and, if possible, to extend what is known about REM sleep in neonates and to test whether certain characteristics of adult REM sleep also hold for infants. The following issues guided the data collection.
1. Roffwarg et al3 found that the sequence between wakefulness and sleep in the neonate is the reverse of that in adults. In the normal adult, nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep always precedes REM sleep by 50-90 minutes, whereas infants enter REM sleep in almost direct transition from the waking state.