Sleep patterns of people with mental retardation have received little research attention. This is an important gap in knowledge because understanding the relation between sleep and wakefulness may be critical to care provision. Descriptive sleep information on 28 people with severe or profound mental retardation and epilepsy was presented here. Sleep EEG data, studied both conventionally and by means of a neural network-based sleep analysis system suggest atypical sleep stages with significant depletion of REM sleep and a predominance of “indiscriminate” non-REM sleep. Sleep diaries completed by caregivers reveal lengthy sleep period times, especially among those with profound mental retardation. Possible explanations for these results and their implications were discussed.

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