Advanced diagnostics: simplifying and improving sleep examinations
Read and speak

Heartrate-based measuring

Sleep is controlled from the brains. For sleep examinations, measuring the brain activity is important, but not easy to do. If sleep could be measured without analyzing the brain activity, the measuring method could be strongly simplified.

A major part of the examination focuses on physiological signals that can provide insight in the quality of sleep and the presence of sleep disorder, and who can be measured easily and without stress. An example is the analysis of the heartrate during sleep.Heartrate variation can be measured easily and for a long time, for instance using a ‘smart watch’. There even are measurement methods that do not involve devices to be worn on the body; we examine, for instance, the application of infrared cameras. Using these, we can examine – in the dark – the heartrate by looking at the blood circulation in the skin, or other bodily functions such as the oxygen level in the blood.

In healthy sleep it has been proven that analysis of the heartrate variation is a surrogate for measuring brain activity to indicate the various stages of sleep. Now, the question is whether this measurement is sufficiently reliable for medical diagnostics and whether it also is dependable if a sleep disorder influences the heartrate.

Our goal is, in the near future, to stress the patient less with complex instruments and to eventually be able to also measure the quality of the sleep at home.

Read and speak

Measuring at home increases reliability of data

Compared to the clinic, the patient assumes a regular sleep pattern at home much sooner. At home, it is also easier to measure during a longer period of time, causing the diagnostics to be less influenced by night-to-night variation.

Finally, the effect of the treatment with new technology can be objectively determined during a longer period of time. Currently, the doctor has no other option than to rely on the patient’s subjective findings.