One of the hallmarks of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is muscle atonia. Here we report extended epochs of muscle atonia in non-REM sleep (MAN). Their extent and time course was studied in a protocol that included a baseline night, a daytime sleep episode with or without selective REM sleep deprivation, and a recovery night. The distribution of the latency to the first occurrence of MAN was bimodal with a first mode shortly after sleep onset and a second mode 40 min later. Within a non-REM sleep episode, MAN showed a U-shaped distribution with the highest values before and after REM sleep. Whereas MAN was at a constant level over consecutive 2-h intervals of nighttime sleep, MAN showed high initial values when sleep began in the morning. Selective daytime REM sleep deprivation caused an initial enhancement of MAN during recovery sleep. It is concluded that episodes of MAN may represent an REM sleep equivalent and that it may be a marker of homeostatic and circadian REM sleep regulating processes. MAN episodes may contribute to the compensation of an REM sleep deficit.