45271 - Behavioural Rhythms and Sleep-Waking Cycle

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures
  • Campus: Cesena
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Applied cognitive psychology (cod. 0991)

Learning outcomes

The course intends to offer a synthetic and adjourned panorama of the actual knowledge in the field of chronobiology and chronopsychology. In a chronopsychology perspectives it will be examined the meaning of the wake/sleep alternation within the 24 hours.

Fundamental concepts will be introduced for being able to correctly appraise disorders tied up to alterations of the sleep/wake cycle.

Using such knowledge the students should be able, at the end of the course, to plan terapeutic programs within health psychology.

Course contents

The course will take place during the first semester (from September to December 2021) at the Department of Psychology (address: Bologna, Viale Berti Pichat 5).

Introductory notes - Theories related to the functions of sleep. Review on the beliefs and theories around the nature and the meaning of the dreaming.

Methods of search - Techniques of study of the sleep. Techniques of study of the dream.

Physiological aspects - The sleep onset process. The awakening process. Two types of sleep: NREM and REM. Need of sleep.

Chronobiology - Classification of the rhythms: infradian, circadian, ultradian. Chronobiological model of sleep regulation.

Chronopsychology - Effects of the time of day on the cognitive process: attention, memory, emotions.

Clinical aspects - Classification of the sleep disorder. Chronobiological aspects in clinical psychology.

Applied Chronopsychology - Protocols of chronopsychological intervention in the clinical, scholastic and job field.


Lavie P. (1996). The enchanted world of sleep.


Natale V. (1998). I ritmi della mente. Roma: Il Pensiero Scientifico Editore.

Book suggested

Occhionero M. (2009). Il sogno. Roma: Carocci editore.

Rosenthal N., Barbato G. & Bonaveglio G. (2002). Le stagioni e la mente.Milano: Longanesi.

Horne J.A. (1988). Why we sleep?

Teaching methods

Traditional didactics. At the end of the course connected problem list with the planning of interventions of applied chronopsychology will be discussed. The course will be placed side by side by exercises (nighttime) in the laboratory. Students will be offered to the opportunity to personally experiment the employment of the polygraphy and the actigraphy. These activities can also be programmed over the term of the course.

Assessment methods

Oral examination.

Teaching tools

Projector, Overhead projector

Office hours

See the website of Vincenzo Natale


Good health and well-being Gender equality Life on land

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.