Effects of circadian misalignment on sleep in mice.
Hasan S., Foster RG., Vyazovskiy VV., Peirson SN.
Circadian rhythms and sleep-wake history determine sleep duration and intensity, and influence subsequent waking. Previous studies have shown that T cycles - light-dark (LD) cycles differing from 24 h - lead to acute changes in the daily amount and distribution of waking and sleep. However, little is known about the long-term effects of T cycles. Here we performed continuous 10 day recording of electroencephalography (EEG), locomotor activity and core body temperature in C57BL/6 mice under a T20 cycle, to investigate spontaneous sleep and waking at baseline compared with when the circadian clock was misaligned and then re-aligned with respect to the external LD cycle. We found that the rhythmic distribution of sleep was abolished during misalignment, while the time course of EEG slow wave activity (1-4 Hz) was inverted compared to baseline. Although the typical light-dark distribution of NREM sleep was re-instated when animals were re-aligned, slow wave activity during NREM sleep showed an atypical increase in the dark phase, suggesting a long-term effect of T cycles on sleep intensity. Our data show that circadian misalignment results in previously uncharacterised long-term effects on sleep, which may have important consequences for behaviour.