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HMS Focus Online: Heart Tracings Reveal Sleep Patterns for Health and Disease

September 16, 2005

Stable and Unstable Sleep Found Distinct from Traditional Non-REM Stages

By Carol Cruzan Morton, Harvard Focus

"During the most restful sleep, the resting heart speeds up and slows down slightly with each breath in and out. But when the heart rhythm drops out of sync with breath-to-breath respiration, slumber becomes more fitful and tiring.

"Normally, a person must be wired and monitored from head to toe to assess sleep quality. An overnight sleep evaluation continuously tracks brain waves, eye movements, snoring, leg twitches, teeth grinding, and much more. Now, just one of the many tracings, a simple continuous electrocardiogram (ECG), may be able to do the job of a suite of independent instruments, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center report in the September Sleep."

Read the complete article on Harvard FOCUS Online website.

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