Sleep Histogram

Last Updated: October 22, 2018

Definition - What does Sleep Histogram mean?

A sleep histogram is a statistical diagram (bar graph) created during a sleep study that indicates sleep progression cycles in patients, measuring the different stages of sleep throughout the night. A sleep histogram contains rectangular bars of a certain width joined together representing time intervals called “bins.” A single bin represents a prescribed number of hours in bed with the coinciding height of a particular bin demonstrating a specific sleep stage identified in a young healthy adult.

WorkplaceTesting explains Sleep Histogram

Sleep histograms are useful in examining sleep architecture, which refers to the transitional stages of sleep that occur during a regular eight-hour sleep/wake cycle. When observing a sleep histogram, technicians can chart and monitor the progression of independent sleep patterns associated to their patients. The bars, or “bins,” illustrate the natural biorhythms that happen between the time a person enters the initial sleep phase to its final wake phase over a conventional eight hour period in bed.

Sleep is divided into five subcategories classified as Stage W (Wake), Stage N1, Stage N2, Stage N3, and Stage R. A sleep histogram shows each stage with their corresponding bins in a graphical format display that highlights discrete brain activity and any physiological changes in the body throughout the night. Sleep histograms can account for elements like muscle tone, blood oxygen levels, and abnormal sleep disturbances that tend to disrupt normal circadian rhythms in an otherwise normal young healthy adult.

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