Berro, L. F., Pareek, T., Reeves-Darby, J. A. et al. 2022. Influence of pair-housing on sleep parameters evaluated with actigraphy in female rhesus monkeys. JAALAS 61(2), 165-172.
Rhesus monkeys are naturally social animals, and behavioral management strategies have focused on promoting pairhousing in laboratory settings as an alternative to individual or group housing. In humans, co-sleeping can have a major impact on bed partners' sleep, raising the possibility that pair-housing also may influence sleep parameters in monkeys. In the present study, we investigated if pair-housing would impact home-cage partner's sleep in female rhesus monkeys, and if nighttime separation using socialization panels would alter this pattern. Sleep parameters of 10 experimentally naïve adult female rhesus monkeys (5 pairs) were evaluated for 7 consecutive days using actigraphy monitors attached to primate collars. Paired animals then were separated by socialization panels during the night, and sleep-associated measures were evaluated for 7 consecutive days. The data showed that sleep efficiency was significantly lower when monkeys were pairhoused as compared with when they were separated. On the nights when subjects were pair-housed, a positive correlation was detected for sleep measures (both sleep latency and efficiency) of both members of a pair (R2's = 0.16-0.5), suggesting that pair-housing influences sleep quality. On nights when subjects were separated, no correlations were observed for sleep measures between members of the pairs (R2's = 0.004-0.01), suggesting that when separated, the home-cage partner's sleep no longer influenced the partner's sleep. Our results indicate that pair-housing has a strong impact on the home-cage partner's sleep, and that this pattern can be prevented by nighttime separation using socialization panels. Studies evaluating sleep in pair-housed monkeys should consider the effects that the partner's sleep may have on the subject's sleep. Sleep is a biologic phenomenon and experimental outcome that affects physical and behavioral health and altered sleep due to pair-housing may affect a range of research outcomes.