Scientists from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center had developed a novel way to assess sleep and diagnose sleep related problems in a very cost effective manner. They had reported in the journal Sleep that it is possible to use the information from the heartbeats// to develop the procedures that will successfully measure the quality of sleep of the problems associated with it.
Known as a “sleep spectrogram,” the novel graph is based on data obtained solely from a simple electrocardiogram (ECG). The spectrogram is described in a study in the Sept. 1 issue of the medical journal Sleep, which currently appears on-line.
The new study, the researchers had identified two distinct types of behavior exhibited throughout the course of a person’s sleep, the first being stable and restful, the second being unstable and aroused. The results show that conventional approaches to categorize non-REM (non-rapid-eye-movement) sleep into grades of depth do not capture this potentially important dimension.
Among healthy adults, physiological behaviors will show relatively abrupt shifts – a occurring over minutes – between both stable and unstable sleep, but the stable stage clearly dominates. But in a variety of disease states, the spectrogram shows that an unstable sleep pattern is predominant, and among patients with severe cases of sleep apnea, virtually all of the patient’s non-REM sleep is unstable.
The creation of the spectrogram could serve as an important complement to traditional sleep staging, which shows cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-REM sleep and is obtained through polysomnography, a series of measurements that require the use an electroencephalogram (EEG) to record patients’ brain waves.
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