The normal succession of sleep and waking states through a night is disturbed in infants at risk for the sudden infant death syndrome. Compared with normal infants, siblings of the sudden infant death syndrome victims have longer intervals between active sleep epochs at particular times during the night in the newborn period and a decreased tendency to enter short waking periods at 2 and 3 months of age. The latter finding is interpreted as an increased tendency to remain asleep, or a relative failure to arouse from sleep in infants at risk.

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