In this study, a new entropy measure known as kernel entropy (KerEnt), which quantifies the irregularity in a series, was applied to nocturnal oxygen saturation (SaO 2) recordings. A total of 96 subjects suspected of suffering from sleep apnea-hypopnea syndrome (SAHS) took part in the study: 32 SAHS-negative and 64 SAHS-positive subjects. Their SaO 2 signals were separately processed by means of KerEnt. Our results show that a higher degree of irregularity is associated to SAHS-positive subjects. Statistical analysis revealed significant differences between the KerEnt values of SAHS-negative and SAHS-positive groups. The diagnostic utility of this parameter was studied by means of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. A classification accuracy of 81.25% (81.25% sensitivity and 81.25% specificity) was achieved. Repeated apneas during sleep increase irregularity in SaO 2 data. This effect can be measured by KerEnt in order to detect SAHS. This non-linear measure can provide useful information for the development of alternative diagnostic techniques in order to reduce the demand for conventional polysomnography (PSG).