Lewandowski A., Rosipal R., Dorffner G.

Extracting more information from EEG recordings for a better description of sleep.

Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine, 108(3):961-972, 2012.

We are introducing and validating an EEG data-based model of the sleep process with an arbitrary number of different sleep stages and a high time resolution allowing modeling of sleep microstructure. In contrast to the standard practice of sleep staging, defined by scoring rules, we describe sleep via posterior probabilities of a finite number of states, not neces- sarily reflecting the traditional sleep stages. To test the proposed probabilistic sleep model (PSM) for validity, we correlate statistics derived from the state posteriors with the results of psychometric tests, physiological variables and questionnaires collected before and after sleep. Considering short, in this study 3 s long, data window the PSM allows describing the sleep process on finer time scale in comparison to the traditional sleep staging based on 20 or 30 s long data segments visual inspection. By combining sleep states and using two measures derived from the posterior curves we show that the average absolute correlations between the measures and subjective and objective sleep quality measures are considerably higher when compared with the analogous measures derived from hypnograms based on sleep staging. In most cases these differences are significant. The results obtained with the PSM support its wider use in sleep process modeling research and these results also suggest that EEG signals contain more information about sleep than what sleep profiles based on discrete stages can reveal. Therefore the standardized scoring of sleep may not be sufficient to reveal important sleep changes related to subjective and objective sleep quality indexes. The proposed PSM represents a promising alternative.