Validity of Consumer Activity Wristbands and Wearable EEG for Measuring Overall Sleep Parameters and Sleep Structure in Free-Living Conditions


Consumer sleep tracking technologies offer an unobtrusive and cost-efficient way to monitor sleep in free-living conditions. Technological advances in hardware and software have significantly improved the functionality of the new gadgets that recently appeared in the market. However, whether the latest gadgets can provide valid measurements on overall sleep parameters and sleep structure such as deep and REM sleep has not been examined. In this study, we aimed to investigate the validity of the latest consumer sleep tracking devices including an activity wristband Fitbit Charge 2 and a wearable EEG-based eye mask Neuroon in comparison to a medical sleep monitor. First, we confirmed that Fitbit Charge 2 can automatically detect the onset and offset of sleep with reasonable accuracy. Second, analysis found that both consumer devices produced comparable results in measuring total sleep duration and sleep efficiency compared to the medical device. In addition, Fitbit accurately measured the number of awakenings, while Neuroon with good signal quality had satisfactory performance on total awake time and sleep onset latency. However, measuring sleep structure including light, deep, and REM sleep remains to be challenging for both consumer devices. Third, greater discrepancies were observed between Neuroon and the medical device in nights with more disrupted sleep and when the signal quality was poor, but no trend was observed in Fitbit Charge 2. This study suggests that current consumer sleep tracking technologies may be immature for diagnosing sleep disorders, but they are reasonably satisfactory for general purpose and non-clinical use.

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This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant-in-Aid for Research Activity Start-up (Grant Number 16H07469) and an internal research grant from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology of Japan. The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions to improve the quality of the paper.

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Correspondence to Zilu Liang or Mario Alberto Chapa Martell.

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The authors certify that there is no conflict of interest involved in this manuscript and this study. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the second author’s company.

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Ethics approval was obtained from the Ethic Committee of the University of Tokyo (Ethics ID: KE16–83). All participants provided informed consent.

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Liang, Z., Chapa Martell, M.A. Validity of Consumer Activity Wristbands and Wearable EEG for Measuring Overall Sleep Parameters and Sleep Structure in Free-Living Conditions. J Healthc Inform Res 2, 152–178 (2018).

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  • Sleep
  • Fitbit
  • Neuroon
  • Wearable devices
  • EEG
  • Validation
  • Self-tracking
  • mHealth