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Sleep Architecture and Its Relationship to Insomnia

Milton K. Erman

Published: May 31, 2001

Article Abstract

The methods used to obtain and depict sleep data shape our understanding of sleep as a phenomenon.The standard criteria for describing sleep were developed in the late 1960s. These criteria,which were established on the basis of the polysomnographic equipment available at that time, calledfor the division of sleep into stages according to depth; the visual depiction of these stages led to thenow widely accepted concept of “sleep architecture.” Although the sleep architecture model remainsuseful, the technology that provided the model’s framework for understanding sleep has been supersededby computer-assisted systems for recording and analyzing sleep that may allow us to acquiredata on sleep that were unobtainable with older equipment. Future gathering and depiction of sleepdata, regardless of the recording and assessment methods used, should minimize disruption of sleepduring study, allow for computerized analysis of sleep parameters, and describe the data from the perspectiveof the effect that sleep and the problems surrounding it have on daytime functioning.

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