What Is Actigraphy? How It Works, Diagnoses Sleep Disorders, and How to Get Started

Last updated: September 17th, 2023

What Is Actigraphy?

Actigraphy is a wearable device that monitors movement to identify sleep and wake patterns. Because actigraphy can estimate important details like when you’re asleep or awake, this type of test offers a convenient and reliable method of identifying certain sleep problems and how a person responds to treatment for sleep-related issues.

Actigraphy has been used in sleep medicine for many years. A key feature of actigraphy is that it can be conducted in the comfort of a person’s own home, making it more convenient than other sleep tests while offering a more realistic representation of a typical sleep/wake patterns and sleep habits.

How Actigraphy Works

In actigraphy, a small device is typically worn on the wrist and monitors movement and, in some devices, exposure to light and darkness in the person’s environment. At the same time, a person is instructed on how to keep a written actigraphy log, in which certain data is tracked by hand to increase the accuracy of actigraphy results.

Using both the data collected by the actigraphy device and the written actigraphy log, the device’s software provides insight into the person’s rest and activity patterns. including: How active a person is during the day, how long it takes to fall asleep, the amount of time spent sleeping, and the frequency and length of nighttime awakenings.

Does Actigraphy Diagnose Sleep Disorders?

Actigraphy may help doctors detect and monitor a variety of sleep issues. Most often, actigraphy is used to help diagnose sleep apnea or snoring by keeping track of breathing disturbances during sleep. By tracking changes in the actigraphy data over time, doctors can also evaluate the effectiveness of treatments like lifestyle choices, medications, or CPAP machines used for the treatment of sleep disorders.

When used in conjunction with polysomnography or a lab-based overnight sleep test, actigraphy can provide further insight into a person’s sleep-wake cycle and sleep patterns.

How Can I Get Started With Actigraphy?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a sleep disorder, your doctor may recommend an actigraphy study. During the study, you’ll wear a small actigraphy device on your wrist and keep written logs of activities you complete at home over a specified period of time. Then, the device’s software analyzes the data along with information from your logs to give your doctor an idea of your sleep habits and how successful your treatment has been.

Your doctor can also recommend an actigraphy device you can purchase for home use. These devices tend to be more affordable than professional sleep test options, but they may not measure the same metrics as those used in a sleep lab. As a result, it’s important to speak to your doctor about the pros and cons of each option before deciding on which device to use.

No Comments

Post Comment

Prove you are human 12 + 11 =

Subscribe To Our Newsletter!