• Depression;
  • Insomnia;
  • Sleep stability;
  • Cyclic alternating pattern;
  • Cardiopulmonary coupling analysis;
  • Electrocardiogram-derived sleep spectrogram


Sleep disruption is an important aspect of major depressive disorder but lacks an objective and inexpensive means of assessment. We evaluated the utility of electrocardiogram (ECG)-based cardiopulmonary coupling analysis to quantify physiologic sleep stability in patients with major depression. Relative to controls, unmedicated depressed patients had a reduction in high-frequency coupling, an index of stable sleep, an increase in low-frequency coupling, an index of unstable sleep, and an increase in very-low-frequency coupling, an index of wakefulness/REM sleep. The medicated depressed group showed a restoration of stable sleep to a level comparable with that of the control group. ECG-based cardiopulmonary coupling analysis may provide a simple, cost-efficient point-of-care method to quantify sleep quality/stability and to objectively evaluate the severity of insomnia in patients with major depression.