Seasonal aspects of sleep in the Djungarian hamster.
Changes in photoperiod and ambient temperature trigger seasonal adaptations in the physiology and behaviour of many species, including the Djungarian hamster. Exposure of the hamsters to a short photoperiod and low ambient temperature leads to a reduction of the polyphasic distribution of sleep and waking over the light and dark period. In contrast, a long photoperiod enhances the daily sleep-wake amplitude leading to a decline of slow-wave activity in NREM sleep within the light period. It is unknown whether these changes can be attributed specifically to photoperiod and/or ambient temperature, or whether endogenous components are contributing factors. The influence of endogenous factors was investigated by recording sleep in Djungarian hamsters invariably maintained at a low ambient temperature and fully adapted to a short photoperiod. The second recording was performed when they had returned to summer physiology, despite the maintenance of the 'winter' conditions.
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