Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Actigraphy (Wrist, for Measuring Rest/Activity Patterns and Sleep)

  • Christopher KlineEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_782



Actigraphy is a method of objective sleep assessment in which sleep/wake status is estimated from bodily movements, typically of the wrist.


Background and Use

Actigraphy is a common alternative to laboratory polysomnography (PSG) for the objective assessment of sleep/wake patterns, based on the observation that the amount of bodily movement differs between sleep and wakefulness. Although initially developed in the 1970s, there has been an exponential increase in the use and development of actigraphy over the past 15 years. Due to technological developments, actigraphs are now unobtrusive (similar in size and weight to a wrist watch) and inexpensive, capable of collecting data for multiple weeks, and able to provide rapid feedback on sleep patterns due to automated software algorithms. In addition, many actigraphs now record ambient light exposure and have the ability to mark the timing of specific events...

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References and Readings

  1. Ancoli-Israel, S., Cole, R., Alessi, C., Chambers, M., Moorcroft, W., & Pollak, C. P. (2003). The role of actigraphy in the study of sleep and circadian rhythms. Sleep, 26, 342–392.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Martin, J. S., & Hakim, A. D. (2011). Wrist actigraphy. Chest, 139, 1514–1527.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Morgenthaler, T., Alessi, C., Friedman, L., Owens, J., Kapur, V., Boehlecke, B., et al. (2007). Practice parameters for the use of actigraphy in the assessment of sleep and sleep disorders: An update for 2007. Sleep, 30, 519–529.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Sadeh, A. (2011). The role and validity of actigraphy in sleep medicine: An update. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 15, 259–267.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Stone, K. L., & Ancoli-Israel, S. (2011). Actigraphy. In M. H. Kryger, T. Roth, & W. C. Dement (Eds.), Principles and practice of sleep medicine (5th ed., pp. 1668–1675). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA