Please note that this section contains my personal notes from my readings on this topic.
“Consolidated sleep means uninterrupted sleep, sleep that is continuous and not disrupted by awakenings. When awakenings or complete arousals break our slumber, we call it disrupted sleep or sleep fragmentation. Abnormal shifts of sleep rhythms towards lighter sleep, even if we do not awaken completely, also cause sleep fragmentation. Ten hours of consolidated sleep is not the same as ten hours of fragmented sleep. Doctors, firefighters, and mothers of newborns or sick children who have their sleep interrupted frequently know this very well.
The effects of sleep fragmentation are similar to the effects of reduced total sleep: daytime sleepiness increases and performance measurably decreases. Among healthy adults, even one night of sleep fragmentation will produce decreases in mental flexibility and sustained attention, as well as impairment of mood.”