Fragmented Sleep

Last Updated: July 30, 2019

Definition - What does Fragmented Sleep mean?

Sleep fragmentation refers to sleep disruptions which result in the individual not experiencing a full sleep cycle. Sleep fragmentation interrupts the individual's normal sleep cycle, preventing the individual from progressing through each phase of sleep and limiting his or her REM sleep. Sleep fragmentation may be caused by physiological conditions or lifestyle or environmental factors.

Sleep fragmentation may also be called fragmented sleep.

WorkplaceTesting explains Fragmented Sleep

A person whose sleep is fragmented spends more time in the lighter sleep stages and less time in deep sleep. They may sleep for less than 6 hours per night or wake several times throughout the night. This disruption of his or her progression through each of the sleep stages can cause a sleep deficit to accumulate. Even a short interruption in a person's sleep cycle can cause him or her to experience symptoms of sleep deprivation.

Sleep fragmentation may be caused by a sleep disorder such as insomnia or sleep apnea, or by external factors such as poor sleep hygiene, changing sleep schedules, or waking to care for an infant. Physical conditions such as an illness or injury may also cause short-term or chronic sleep fragmentation. Left unchecked, fragmented sleep and the resulting sleep deprivation may cause an individual to develop other health conditions. Lack of sleep may also contribute to the risk of workplace accidents and injuries.


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