Objective: Recently it has been shown that the adult sleep EEG is mostly determined by high-dimensional, linear dynamics with the exception of the A phase of the cyclic alternating pattern which displays more synchronized nonlinear dynamics. It is not known how these two different types of brain dynamics develop in early life; for this reason the aim of this study was that to extend the nonlinear analysis to the EEG during sleep recorded in premature and full-term newborns. Methods: EEG epochs were chosen from a total of 24 polygraphic recordings from 14 babies (9 males and 5 females) aged between 33 weeks 3 days and 4 months conceptional age. All subjects were neurologically normal and showed normal psychomotor development at follow-up. A total of 243 artifact-free epochs was chosen during active sleep (AS, 74 total epochs), quiet sleep (QS, 76 total epochs) and indeterminate sleep (IS, 93 total epochs). The dynamic properties of the EEG were assessed by means of the nonlinear cross prediction test which uses 3 different 'model' time series in order to predict nonlinearly the original data set (Pred, Ama, and Tir). Pred is a measure of the predictability of the time series, and Ama and Tir are measures of asymmetry, indicating nonlinear structure. Results: Our results show that the structure of sleep EEG in newborns is significantly different from that of adults, it cannot be distinguished from that of high-dimensional noise in the majority of epochs, and shows a tendency to become nonlinear in nature, mostly during QS, in a small percentage of the epochs analyzed. Conclusions: These findings can be interpreted as the effect of immature synaptic interconnections between neurons in the newborn brain.