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There is a paucity of data on neonatal sleep physiology, normative data and disorders. Newborns spend more than half of their sleep time in stage R (rapid eye movement) sleep. Sleep is an integral part of an infant’s development, leading to adequate growth and memory consolidation. Circadian rhythm is established by ~6 months of age. Hypopnoeas and apnoeas are common in infants, and the mean apnoea/hypopnoea index is higher in healthy newborns than in older children. Fragmented sleep in the neonatal period causes endothelial dysfunction and can lead to a poor neurodevelopmental outcome. Various sleep problems can occur throughout infancy, and preterm infants are more vulnerable than term infants.

Original publication




Journal article


ERS Monograph

Publication Date





273 - 286