Sleep-wakefulness cycles are an essential diagnostic criterion for disorders of consciousness (DOC), differentiating prolonged DOC from coma. Specific sleep features, like the presence of sleep spindles, are an important marker for the prognosis of recovery from DOC. Based on increasing evidence for a link between sleep and neuronal plasticity, understanding sleep in DOC might facilitate the development of novel methods for rehabilitation. Yet, well-controlled studies of sleep in DOC are lacking. Here, we aimed to quantify, on a reliable evaluation basis, the distribution of behavioral and neurophysiological sleep patterns in DOC over a 24-h period while controlling for environmental factors (by recruiting a group of conscious tetraplegic patients who resided in the same hospital).