New and Emerging Approaches to Better Define Sleep Disruption and Its Consequences

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Current approaches to quantify and diagnose sleep disorders and circadian rhythm disruption are imprecise, laborious, and often do not relate well to key clinical and health outcomes. Newer emerging approaches that aim to overcome the practical and technical constraints of current sleep metrics have considerable potential to better explain sleep disorder pathophysiology and thus to more precisely align diagnostic, treatment and management approaches to underlying pathology. These include more fine-grained and continuous EEG signal feature detection and novel oxygenation metrics to better encapsulate hypoxia duration, frequency, and magnitude readily possible via more advanced data acquisition and scoring algorithm approaches. Recent technological advances may also soon facilitate simple assessment of circadian rhythm physiology at home to enable sleep disorder diagnostics even for “non-circadian rhythm” sleep disorders, such as chronic insomnia and sleep apnea, which in many cases also include a circadian disruption component. Bringing these novel approaches into the clinic and the home settings should be a priority for the field. Modern sleep tracking technology can also further facilitate the transition of sleep diagnostics from the laboratory to the home, where environmental factors such as noise and light could usefully inform clinical decision-making. The “endpoint” of these new and emerging assessments will be better targeted therapies that directly address underlying sleep disorder pathophysiology via an individualized, precision medicine approach. This review outlines the current state-of-the-art in sleep and circadian monitoring and diagnostics and covers several new and emerging approaches to better define sleep disruption and its consequences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number751730
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2021


  • apnea/hypopnea index
  • circadian rhythm
  • insomnia
  • polysomnography
  • precision medicine
  • signal processing
  • sleep apnea
  • sleep disordered breathing


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