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Actigraphy, a method for inferring sleep/wake patterns based on movement data gathered using actigraphs, is increasingly used in population-based epidemiologic studies because of its ability to monitor activity in natural settings. Using special software, actigraphic data are analyzed to estimate a range of sleep parameters. To date, despite extensive application of actigraphs in sleep research, published literature specifically detailing the methodology for derivation of sleep parameters is lacking; such information is critical for the appropriate analysis and interpretation of actigraphy data. Reporting of sleep parameters has also been inconsistent across studies, likely reflecting the lack of consensus regarding the definition of sleep onset and offset. In addition, actigraphy data are generally underutilized, with only a fraction of the sleep parameters generated through actigraphy routinely used in current sleep research. The objectives of this paper are to review existing algorithms used to estimate sleep/wake cycles from movement data, demonstrate the rules/methods used for estimating sleep parameters, provide clear technical definitions of the parameters, and suggest potential new measures that reflect intraindividual variability. Utilizing original data collected using Motionlogger Sleep Watch (Ambulatory Monitoring Inc., Ardsley, NY), we detail the methodology and derivation of 29 nocturnal sleep parameters, including those both widely and rarely utilized in research. By improving understanding of the actigraphy process, the information provided in this paper may help: ensure appropriate use and interpretation of sleep parameters in future studies; enable the recalibration of sleep parameters to address specific goals; inform the development of new measures; and increase the breadth of sleep parameters used.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Annals of work exposures and health
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Simultaneous and continuous monitoring of several parameters during sleep to study normal and abnormal sleep. The study includes monitoring of brain waves, to assess sleep stages, and other physiological variables such as breathing, eye movements, and blood oxygen levels which exhibit a disrupted pattern with sleep disturbances.
Periods of sleep manifested by changes in EEG activity and certain behavioral correlates; includes Stage 1: sleep onset, drowsy sleep; Stage 2: light sleep; Stages 3 and 4: delta sleep, light sleep, deep sleep, telencephalic sleep.
Dyssomnias (i.e., insomnias or hypersomnias) associated with dysfunction of internal sleep mechanisms or secondary to a sleep-related medical disorder (e.g., sleep apnea, post-traumatic sleep disorders, etc.). (From Thorpy, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, p187)
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A sleep disorder of central nervous system origin characterized by prolonged nocturnal sleep and periods of daytime drowsiness. Affected individuals experience difficulty with awakening in the morning and may have associated sleep drunkenness, automatic behaviors, and memory disturbances. This condition differs from narcolepsy in that daytime sleep periods are longer, there is no association with CATAPLEXY, and the multiple sleep latency onset test does not record sleep-onset rapid eye movement sleep. (From Chokroverty, Sleep Disorders Medicine, 1994, pp319-20; Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 1998 Apr:52(2):125-129)
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