A hypnogram is a form of polysomnography; it is a graph that represents the stages of sleep as a function of time. It was developed as an easy way to present the recordings of the brain wave activity from an electroencephalogram (EEG) during a period of sleep. It allows the different stages of sleep: rapid eye movement sleep (REM) and non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) to be identified during the sleep cycle. NREM sleep can be further classified into NREM stage 1, 2 and 3. The previously considered 4th stage of NREM sleep has been included within stage 3; this stage is also called slow wave sleep (SWS) and is the deepest stage of sleep.
Each of the three NREM stages as well as the period of REM sleep and the awake state can be determined and displayed on a hypnogram.