The Basic Rest-Activity Cycle — 32 Years Later: An Interview with Nathaniel Kleitman at 96



Nathaniel Kleitman, the author of the pioneering volume Sleep and wakefulness, (1963)1 is lively and well at 96, living alone in his apartment in Southern California where I have interviewed him a number of times over the past few years. His general appearance and élan is so reminiscent of the American humorist George Burns that it was all I could do to suppress a laugh each time I saw him. His daughter, Esther, who lives nearby, was present at some of the interviews and helped in the preparation of this material for publication. Kleitman has been in retirement for 30 years since he left his faculty position at the University of Chicago at the age of 65. Perhaps his personal experience with the ageing process reported here can serve as a necessary corrective to many of the misconceptions that currently distort our understanding of sleep, wakefulness and well-being in senior citizens.


Sleep Disorder Senior Citizen Ultradian Rhythm Sexual Excitation Eyeball Movement 
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  1. 1.
    Kleitman N (1963) Sleep and wakefulness. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Abbreviations: REM, rapid eye movement; NREM, non-rapid eye movement; EEG, electroencephalograph.Google Scholar
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    Aserinsky E, Kleitman N (1953) Regularly occurring periods of eye motility, and concomitant phenomena, during sleep. Science 118:273–274. Dement WC, Kleitman N (1957) Cyclic variations in EEG during sleep and their relation to eye movements, body motility, and dreaming. EEG Clin Neurophysiol 9: 673–690.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Kleitman N (1982) The basic rest-activity cycle — 22 years later. Sleep 5: 311–315.PubMedGoogle Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 1992

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