The thermal balance in man was investigated during nocturnal sleep in neutral and warm environments (from 32 to 39.5 degrees C, 45%rh). Changes of body temperatures and skin evaporation were continuously monitored throughout the whole night. In neutral conditions (32 and 34 degrees C) body temperature and skin evaporation decreased during the night, following the circadian rhythm deltaT sk = -0.34 degrees C; deltaT re = -0.52 degrees C;deltaE = -12 W-m-2. In warm conditions, body temperatures and evaporation remained steady. Marked fluctuations of body temperatures and evaporation occurred synchronously with the rapid eye movement (REM) periods. Each REM period induced phasic increase of Tsk reaching +2 degrees C in some cases, with a cessation of evaporation. Tre showed upward and downward rhythmical waves synchronously with REM sleep occurrence. The nocturnal variations of thermal balance were characterized by two rhythms: a basal circadian rhythm and superimposed on it a rhythm conditioned by occurrence of REM sleep every 80–90 min. The phasic changes of body temperatures and evaporation only appeared with REM's. The results suggest that the nervous integrative function conditioning the patterns of sleep, conditions also the phasic cyclic changes of thermoregulatory function.
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