A typical hypnogram, delineating the sleep architecture for a (human) mammal looks like

enter image description here

A distinct distribution of non-REM and REM sleep can be observed.

Is this pattern of sleep cycles particular to that of diurnal mammals, and if so, how would the sleep architecture of a mammal that sleeps during the daytime be different?

  • $\begingroup$ I looked for research on this, interestingly I couldn't find any scientific articles looking at sleep-wake cycles in nocturnal creatures. Fascinating question, but based on the lack of research available I doubt the answer is available at present. Although I hope I am wrong. $\endgroup$
    – Comte
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 14:32

1 Answer 1


One study (Zhao et. al., 2010), investigating the sleep architecture of two bat species (one nocturnal, and one mixed), notes the following:

C. sphinx was found to sleep predominantly throughout the day (60% of total sleep quota) during which time it spent significantly longer time in NREM and REM sleep. Compared to E. spelaea, C. sphinx had significantly less REM and NREM sleep episodes but their duration was significantly longer. E. spelaea appears to distribute its time at wake and in REM and NREM sleep equally throughout the light and dark phases.

Bat sleep architecture Top three rows are for the predominantly nocturnal bat C. sphinx. Note the "Wake" rows for the two species.


Zhao, X., Sun, H., Tang, Z., Flanders, J., Zhang, S., & Ma, Y. (2010). Characterization of the sleep architecture in two species of fruit bat. Behavioural brain research, 208(2), 497-501.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.