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An Introduction to Sleep Measurement with Actigraphy

24 August 2022
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An Introduction to Sleep Measurement with Actigraphy

By Amy Bates, Marketing Executive

Firstly, what is actigraphy and how can we use it to measure sleep?

Actigraphy is method of measuring human movement, activities and behaviours using wearable devices such as the GENEActiv. The device is normally worn on the wrist like a watch and it records movements during the night as well as temperature and environmental light.

It’s normally recommended that data is collected for a minimum seven days in order to get an accurate picture of a person’s sleeping patterns.

What will it measure?

Over the data collection period, the device can record many sleep parameters including:

  • Total sleep time
  • Bedtime
  • Risetime
  • Sleep quality and efficiency
  • Wake after sleep onset
  • Sleep interruptions
  • Posture changes
  • Lifestyle patterns

This data can be used to inform healthcare professionals about the patient’s sleep schedule and how their lifestyle may be affecting their sleep. These useful metrics can then be used to diagnose a range of sleep disorders including sleep apnoea, insomnia, and circadian rhythm disorders.

Actigraphy is known as an objective measurement method meaning that the observations are unbiased and can be verified. Some medical professionals may choose to use actigraphy alongside other subjective measurement methods such as a sleep diary. This allows them to see things from the patient’s point of view and take into consideration how the person was feeling.

Benefits of Actigraphy

As the devices are lightweight and adjustable, they can be used by all age groups in either a lab or home setting. Although it is not used as a replacement method for polysomnography, actigraphy is a great non-invasive and cost-effective alternative. It can also collect data over long periods of time, allowing healthcare professionals to understand ongoing behaviour patterns.

With experience in over 100 sleep-related studies worldwide, Activinsights can provide guidance and advice on sleep measurement and would be happy to discuss how actigraphy can be used in your next study.

Look out for part two coming soon - Beyond Actigraphy: Accelerometry and Sleep Biomarkers from Wearables.

How can we help you?
Our friendly team have extensive experience in remote monitoring technology and can advise you on what products and services will best suit your project needs.

Contact us to discuss your requirements.
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