Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Validation study on sleep parameters by actigraphy for normal subjects

  • 1173 Accesses

  • 1 Citations

Dear Editor:

O’Hare et al. reported the performance of three sleep monitoring devices for measuring sleep parameters in 20 normal subjects against sleep polysomnography (PSG) [1]. The authors used two non-contact radio-frequency biomotion sensors, named SleepMinder® and SleepDesign®, and an accelerometer, named Actiwatch®. Compared with sleep PSG, all three devices overestimated total sleep time and underestimated wake after sleep onset and sleep onset latency. I appreciate that the authors checked the validity of three sleep monitoring devices, including Actiwatch®, against sleep PSG. Although the agreement of sleep/wake judgment by sleep monitoring devices is satisfactory for normal subjects, the authors recognized the limitation when these devices were applied for patients with insomnia. I have a query on their study with special emphasis on Actiwatch®.

O’Hare et al. quoted a paper on selecting appropriate cutoff point for sleep-wake judgment [2], but there is no definite way to determine the best sensitivity of sleep-wake judgment for every subject. Kushida et al. found the best overall accuracy and ability to detect wakefulness using Actiwatch® and PSG, when the “high-sensitivity” setting (20 counts per minute) was used [3]. Peterson et al. adopted the default sensitivity setting (40 counts per minute), and they described the overestimation of total sleep time and underestimation of wake after sleep onset by Actiwatch® [4], which was the same study outcome by O’Hare et al.

There is a difference between brain activity and physical movement during sleep, and the discrepancy of sleep parameters between sleep PSG and sleep monitoring devices would be obvious for insomniacs [5]. Validation study of sleep parameters by SleepMinder®, SleepDesign®, and Actiwatch® as a tool for sleep/wake judgment should also be conducted in patients with sleep apnea syndrome and other sleep disorders.


  1. 1.

    O'Hare E, Flanagan D, Penzel T, Garcia C, Frohberg D, Heneghan C (2014) A comparison of radio-frequency biomotion sensors and actigraphy versus polysomnography for the assessment of sleep in normal subjects. Sleep Breath Mar 11. doi: 10.1007/s11325-014-0967-z

  2. 2.

    Lichstein KL, Stone KC, Donaldson J, Nau SD, Soeffing JP, Murray D, Lester KW, Aguillard RN (2006) Actigraphy validation with insomnia. Sleep 29(2):232–239

  3. 3.

    Kushida CA, Chang A, Gadkary C, Guilleminault C, Carrillo O, Dement WC (2001) Comparison of actigraphic, polysomnographic, and subjective assessment of sleep parameters in sleep-disordered patients. Sleep Med 2(5):389–396

  4. 4.

    Peterson BT, Chiao P, Pickering E, Freeman J, Zammit GK, Ding Y, Badura LL (2012) Comparison of actigraphy and polysomnography to assess effects of zolpidem in a clinical research unit. Sleep Med 13(4):419–424

  5. 5.

    Natale V, Léger D, Martoni M, Bayon V, Erbacci A (2014) The role of actigraphy in the assessment of primary insomnia: a retrospective study. Sleep Med 15(1):111–115

Download references

Disclosure statement

The author has indicated no financial support.

Conflicts of interest

There is no conflict of interest in this study.

Author information

Correspondence to Tomoyuki Kawada.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kawada, T. Validation study on sleep parameters by actigraphy for normal subjects. Sleep Breath 19, 11 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11325-014-0977-x

Download citation


  • Public Health
  • Internal Medicine
  • Cutoff Point
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Validation Study