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Free-running sleep

BACKGROUND: – Circadian phase known by monitoring output of internal body clock – Researcher can determine daily cycles of gene activity, body temperature, blood pressure, […]

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BACKGROUND:
– Circadian phase known by monitoring output of internal body clock
– Researcher can determine daily cycles of gene activity, body temperature, blood pressure, hormone secretion, and sleep/activity
– Alertness in humans determined by verbal and non-verbal tests
– Alertness in animals assessed by observing physical activity
– Experiments done during free-running to study entrainment signals

IN HUMANS:
– Non-24-hour sleep–wake disorder affects blind and sighted individuals
– Blind individuals unable to entrain to light cues due to inability to register light
– Non-24 affects more sighted males than females
– Quarter of sighted individuals with Non-24 have associated psychiatric condition
– Non-24 usually appears in teens or early twenties in sighted individuals

SEE ALSO:
– Circadian rhythm
– Circadian rhythm sleep disorder

REFERENCES:
– Exposure to moderately bright light effective for entraining individuals to specific day lengths
– Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells mediate nonvisual phenomena
– Photic pathway used by circadian system functionally intact in some blind patients
– Image forming vision not required for synchronizing/phase shifting circadian clock

Free-running sleep (Wikipedia)

Free-running sleep is a rare sleep pattern whereby the sleep schedule of a person shifts later every day. It occurs as the sleep disorder non-24-hour sleep–wake disorder or artificially as part of experiments used in the study of circadian and other rhythms in biology. Study subjects are shielded from all time cues, often by a constant light protocol, by a constant dark protocol or by the use of light/dark conditions to which the organism cannot entrain such as the ultrashort protocol of one hour dark and two hours light. Also, limited amounts of food may be made available at short intervals so as to avoid entrainment to mealtimes. Subjects are thus forced to live by their internal circadian "clocks".

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