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Comedic actress Mindy Kaling may have been speaking for everyone enamored with slumber when she wrote, “There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”

Who hasn’t at one time preferred the restorative effects of a few extra hours of sleep to the harsh realities of the waking world? For both humans and other animals, sleep is indelibly linked to physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

In experimental biology, understanding sleep patterns and disruptions in both humans and animals provides essential insights into health, behavior, and neurological conditions. Techniques such as pulse oximetry, electroencephalography (EEG), and electromyography (EMG) provide critical data for unlocking the mysteries of sleep’s influence on human and animal biology.

Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive method that measures the oxygen saturation level of the blood, an indicator of respiratory efficiency during sleep. It is typically expressed as peripheral blood oxygen saturation or SpO2. This tool is especially useful in detecting sleep apnea and other breathing-related sleep disorders. EEG records electrical activity in the brain, offering a window into the different stages of sleep (from light sleep to deep sleep and rapid eye movement [REM] phases). It helps researchers understand how and why sleep patterns may be altered by various neurological diseases or conditions. EMG measures muscle activity and is crucial in examining the quality of sleep, particularly by identifying periods of muscle atonia during REM sleep, which can be disrupted in disorders like REM sleep behavior disorder.

BIOPAC and partner company Kissei offer SleepSign™ software, which provides essential tools and technologies that enhance the effectiveness of sleep studies. BIOPAC’s advanced multimodal setups can integrate data from EEG, EMG, pulse oximetry, and other sources for human participants and animals into a single coherent analysis platform. This integration allows for simultaneous recording and analysis of physiological and neurological signals during sleep.

boyA study published in the Sleep Research Society’s journal, Sleep, evaluated the effect of sleep on upper airway dynamics in obese children with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS). Researchers used data gathered via a BIOPAC differential pressure transducer and flow transducer and fed into a data acquisition and analysis system to measure SpO2 and nasal-oral mask airflow of participants during MRI scans. The study results provided “further insight into the biomechanical basis of OSAS and assist in more effective management.”

SleepSign™ software plays a crucial role in automating the analysis of sleep data. It processes large volumes of EEG and EMG data, providing researchers with user-friendly interfaces and detailed reports that highlight anomalies and patterns in sleep stages. A study published in the 2023 issue of Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms investigated the long-lasting effects of sleep disruption on young prairie voles using a combination of BIOPAC’s AcqKnowledge software and SleepSign™ to acquire and analyze EEG and EMG data. The study concluded that early-life sleep disruption in postnatal voles has significant impacts on REM sleep patterns later in life.

These are just some of the technologies allowing researchers to dissect the nuances of sleep in both human health and animal models while also paving the way for novel therapeutic strategies to address sleep-related disorders. For additional information check our webinars on wireless animal EEG recordings and wireless logging.

Are you planning to explore the realm of sleep with your next study? Reach out to our experts for assistance selecting the best tools for gathering and analyzing sleep data.

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