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fragmentation (sleep)

(pertaining to sleep architecture) The interruption of any stage of sleep due to the appearance of another stage or to wakefulness, leading to disrupted non-REM-REM sleep cycles; often used to refer to the interruption of REM sleep by movement arousals or stage 2 activity. Sleep fragmentation connotes repetitive interruptions of sleep by arousals and awakening.


Definition reprinted with permission from Culebras, Antonio, Clinical Handbook of Sleep Disorders, Butterworth-Heinemann