A phenomenon of prolonged spiking in movement sensors, such as static-charge-sensitive bed or Emfit (electromechanical film) sensors, has been connected to an increase in carbon dioxide tension in wakefulness. Spiking is also a common finding in sleep studies. This made us hypothesize that carbon dioxide changes might also happen in sleep during prolonged spiking episodes in Emfit sheet. We examined four different kinds of breathing pattern episodes: normal breathing, episodes of repetitive apnea, episodes of repetitive hypopnea and episodes with prolonged spiking lasting at least 3 min. One hundred and fifteen episodes from 19 polysomnograms were finally admitted to the study according to the protocol. The changes in the transcutaneous carbon dioxide tension (TcCO(2)) were defined for different breathing patterns. During prolonged spiking episodes the TcCO(2) increased significantly and differed statistically from the TcCO(2) changes of normal breathing and periodic breathing patterns (episodes of apnea and hypopnea). The rise in TcCO(2) during prolonged spiking episodes might suggest that prolonged spiking is representing another type of breathing disturbance during sleep differing from periodic breathing patterns. The Emfit sensor as a small, flexible and non-invasive sensor might provide useful additional information about breathing during sleep.