New way to study sleep is developed

August 29, 2005

Boston researchers report they've developed an inexpensive method to assess the stability and quality of sleep.

The scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center say their method involves using information hidden in the beat-to-beat changes of the heart's electrical signals. They say the technique might be used to help understand the mechanisms of sleep control, diagnose sleep disorders and test the efficacy of sleep aids and other medications.

Known as a "sleep spectrogram," the graph is based on data obtained solely from a simple electrocardiogram.

The spectrogram is described in a study appearing in the Sept. 1 issue of the medical journal Sleep, which currently appears online.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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