The effects of rapid eye movement sleep deprivation during late pregnancy on newborns' sleep

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Sleep loss during pregnancy is an emerging concern that affects the development of the growing fetus and babies. Even during normal pregnancy, in human and animal species the quality of sleep becomes poor and fragmented during the last trimester (Driver and Shapiro, 1992; Nishina et al., 1996; Sivadas et al., 2017; Wilson et al., 2011). Any further loss of sleep during pregnancy can compromise normal development in the growing offspring (Chang et al., 2010; Gulia and Kumar, 2018; Gulia et al., 2014, 2015; Micheli et al., 2011; Radhakrishnan et al., 2015). Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep deprivation (REMSD) during the third trimester of pregnancy produced depression‐like symptoms in the offspring (Gulia et al., 2014). A few reports have also provided supporting evidence that sleep deprivation during pregnancy impairs brain development and memory processes by affecting neurogenesis in the hippocampus and functioning of the glial cell (Peng et al., 2016; Zhao et al., 2014, 2015). Brain development is swift during the last trimester, and it continues to develop during the postnatal window in altricial species. Sleep is one neurophysiological parameter that can provide crucial information concerning brain functioning in neonates after parturition.
After parturition, sleep–wakefulness (S–W) in neonates undergoes age‐specific changes during postnatal days (PNDs), which are indicative of a developmental milestone. Normal, full‐term human babies sleep approximately 16–18 h per day (Roffwarg et al., 1966). During this time, the percentage of active sleep (AS), which is the precursor of REM sleep in newborn babies, remains at approximately 50% within one‐and‐a‐half days of birth (Korotchikova et al., 2016; Roffwarg et al., 1966). The proportion of AS begins to decrease gradually in infants to approximately 30% by the first year of life (Roffwarg et al., 1966; de Weerd and van den Bossche, 2003). AS remains high similarly in rats, reaching approximately 70% during the initial week of birth, which also reduces as they age (Jouvet‐Mounier et al., 1970). Thus, the S–W parameters continue to have age‐dependent changes, marking a natural developmental process. There are no reports on the S–W patterns of neonates if their mothers are sleep‐deprived during pregnancy. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the effects of restriction of REM sleep during pregnancy in the development of the S–W patterns in offspring in the rat model. To evaluate further this model of changing sleep architecture during early development, S–W stage transitions were studied in pups from control and REM sleep‐deprived dams using survivor plots.
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