Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 163, Issue 6, pp 729-738

First online:

Sleep and EEG spectra in the pigeon (Columba livia) under baseline conditions and after sleep deprivation

  • Irene ToblerAffiliated withPharmakologisches Institut, Universität Zürich
  • , Alexander A. BorbélyAffiliated withPharmakologisches Institut, Universität Zürich

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Sleep in adult domestic pigeons was studied by continuous 24-h recording of the EEG, EMG and EOG. Vigilance states were scored on the basis of behavioral observations, visual scoring of the polygraph records, and EEG power spectra.

The animals showed a clear nocturnal preference for sleep. Throughout the dark period, EEG slow-wave activity was at a uniform level, whereas REM sleep (REMS) showed an increasing trend.

EEG power density values differed significantly between the vigilance states. In general the values were highest in nonREM sleep (NREMS), intermediate in waking (W) and lowest in REMS.

Twenty-four hour sleep deprivation reduced W and increased REMS, effects that are well documented in mammals. Unlike in mammals, EEG slow-wave activity remained unchanged, whereas EOG activity in W and NREMS was enhanced.