Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Can actigraphy measure sleep fragmentation in children?
  1. D M O'Driscoll1,
  2. A M Foster1,
  3. M J Davey2,
  4. G M Nixon1,2,
  5. R S C Horne1
  1. 1Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research, Monash Institute of Medical Research, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  2. 2Melbourne Children's Sleep Unit, Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Monash Medical Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Denise M O'Driscoll, Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research, Level 5, Monash Medical Centre, 246 Clayton Road, Clayton, Victoria 3168, Australia; denise.odriscoll{at}


Objective The gold standard assessment for sleep quality is polysomnography (PSG). However, actigraphy has gained popularity as an ambulatory monitor. We aimed to assess the value of actigraphy in measuring sleep fragmentation in children.

Methods 130 children aged 2–18 years referred for assessment for sleep disordered breathing (SDB) were recruited. The arousal index (AI) scored from PSG was compared to the actigraphic fragmentation index (FI) and number of wake bouts/h.

Results The ability of actigraphic measures to correctly classify a child as having an AI>10 events/h rated as fair for the FI and poor for wake bouts/h (area under the receiver operator characteristic curve, 0.73 and 0.67, respectively).

Conclusion Actigraphy provides only a fair indication of the level of arousal from sleep in children. While the limitations of actigraphy prevent it from being a diagnostic tool for SDB, it still has a role in evaluating sleep/wake schedules in children.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding Dr O'Driscoll was part-funded by the Kaarene Fitzgerald Research Fellowship from SIDS & Kids Victoria.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Monash Medical Centre Human Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent Obtained..