Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 1372-1374

Sleep Architecture

  • Kim GuionAffiliated withPulmonary Division, Sleep Disorders Clinic, Children’s Hospital Email author 
  • , Kristin T. AvisAffiliated withDepartment of Pediatrics, Pulmonary Division, University of Alabama at Birmingham


Sleep; Sleep stages; Sleep structure


Sleep architecture refers to the structure of sleep cycles throughout the night and the five stages of sleep including four stages of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and the fifth stage, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.


Sleep architecture allows for the quantification of sleep characteristics in order to promote accurate diagnosis of sleep disturbance or related medical or psychological diagnoses. Some relevant measures of sleep architecture include the following:

  • Sleep onset latency – the time between initiating sleep behavior (lights out) to onset of first sleep stage

  • REM latency – the time between sleep onset and occurrence of first REM period

  • Total sleep time – total time (in minutes) sleeping from lights out to lights on

  • Sleep efficiency – ratio of time asleep compared to time recording (lights out to lights on)

Measurement of sleep architecture : Sleep architecture is mapped out by the cycl ...

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