SegWay: A simple framework for unsupervised sleep segmentation in experimental EEG recordings

Farid Yaghouby, Sridhar Sunderam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Sleep analysis in animal models typically involves recording an electroencephalogram (EEG) and electromyogram (EMG) and scoring vigilance state in brief epochs of data as Wake, REM (rapid eye movement sleep) or NREM (non-REM) either manually or using a computer algorithm. Computerized methods usually estimate features from each epoch like the spectral power associated with distinctive cortical rhythms and dissect the feature space into regions associated with different states by applying thresholds, or by using supervised/unsupervised statistical classifiers; but there are some factors to consider when using them:Most classifiers require scored sample data, elaborate heuristics or computational steps not easily reproduced by the average sleep researcher, who is the targeted end user.Even when prediction is reasonably accurate, small errors can lead to large discrepancies in estimates of important sleep metrics such as the number of bouts or their duration.As we show here, besides partitioning the feature space by vigilance state, modeling transitions between the states can give more accurate scores and metrics. An unsupervised sleep segmentation framework, "SegWay", is demonstrated by applying the algorithm step-by-step to unlabeled EEG recordings in mice. The accuracy of sleep scoring and estimation of sleep metrics is validated against manual scores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-155
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant ( NS083218 ) from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , U.S.A. The authors thank Chris Schildt and Asma’a Ajwad for their help with animal procedures.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Authors.


  • Behavior
  • Bout duration
  • Classifier
  • Clustering
  • EEG
  • EMG
  • Hidden Markov model
  • Sleep scoring
  • Sleep-wake
  • Vigilance state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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