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Definition - What does hypnogram mean?

A hypnogram is a diagram illustrating sleep architecture or the successive sleep stages that occur during the night serving as an auxiliary metric against sleep pattern deviations. A sleep technologist may use a hypnogram during polysomnography (sleep study) for comparative analysis of demographic groups, in particular, interpreting physiological changes in sleep that transpire with age. The hypnogram represents the bioelectric activity in the brain throughout a conventional eight hour sleep period.

SureHire explains hypnogram

A hypnogram displays non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) cycle fluctuations within a standard 90 to 120 minute time frame, marking sleep stages along a vertical axis (y-axis) while the horizontal axis (x-axis) represents a standard eight-hour duration of sleep. The diagram charts the relative progression of NREM sleep stages followed by REM deep sleep stages, using biofeedback covering four to five repeating sleep cycles to target sleep disturbances. The diagnosis of sleep disorders often warrant the use of hypnogram results to correlate a patient’s symptoms — for instance, immediate REM sleep can suggest narcolepsy.

Because hypnograms represent sleep architecture, sporadic arousals from sleep are important factors contributing to sleep disorders or psychological conditions including irregular sleep-wake rhythm, insomnia, depression, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Since sleep decreases with age, many individuals are likely to experience a deficit of slow-wave sleep and subsequent REM deep sleep leading to insomnia due to inadequate sleep patterns. For employers, an aging workforce carries comorbid implications where sleep disorders can induce debilitating medical issues including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and stroke.

A hypnogram is a practical resource to monitor and track the continuity of sleep architecture overnight, supporting additional testing procedures to help gauge sleep patterns. Employee wellness programs that encompass sleep awareness initiatives where personnel receive valuable information about the conducive benefits related to sleep hygiene can foster productivity and deter financial liabilities.

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