Free-Running Sleep

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Free-running sleep is a sleep pattern that is not adjusted (entrained) to the 24-hour cycle in nature nor to any artificial cycle. It occurs as the sleep disorder non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder or artificially as part of experiments used in the study of circadian and other rhythms in biology. Study subjects are shielded from all time cues, often by a constant light protocol, by a constant dark protocol or by the use of light/dark conditions to which the organism cannot entrain such as the ultrashort protocol of one hour dark and two hours light. Also, limited amounts of food may be made available at short intervals so as to avoid entrainment to mealtimes. Subjects are thus forced to live by their internal circadian "clocks".
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