Simulation of human hypnograms using a Markov chain model

Sleep. 1986;9(3):405-14. doi: 10.1093/sleep/9.3.405.


A Markov chain model has been proposed as a mechanism that generates human sleep stages. A method for estimating the parameters of the model, i.e., the transition probabilities (rates) between sleep stages, has been introduced and applied to 95 hypnograms taken from 23 subjects. The rates characterize interindividual differences and nightly variations of the sleep mechanism, related to sleep-onset behavior, to the decreasing amount of slow wave sleep in the course of the night, and to the REM-NREM periodicity. The model simulates both probabilistic and the above-mentioned predictable dynamics of sleep, but only if these time-varying, individual rates are applied.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Markov Chains*
  • Models, Biological
  • Probability*
  • Sleep / physiology*