Actigraphic sleep tracking and wearables: Historical context, scientific applications and guidelines, limitations, and considerations for commercial sleep devices

Michael A. Grandner, Mary E. Rosenberger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Objective estimation of sleep can utilize a range of technologies. For field-based recordings, the most accepted approach is “actigraphy,” or movement-based estimation of sleep versus wake. Actigraphy is based on technology developed over several decades and has been repeatedly validated against in-lab polysomnography. This chapter reviews the history and technology behind actigraphy, addresses the issues around validation, and describes the chronology of this tool as a way to characterize habitual sleep. In addition, this chapter addresses newer implementations of this technology, including the use of consumer-grade wearables and integration with other approaches to improve measurement (e.g., optical plethysmography). Finally, the chapter provides recommendations for implementation of an actigraphy program and guidelines for understanding actigraphy validation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSleep and Health
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780128153734
ISBN (Print)9780128153741
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Accelerometer
  • Actigraphy
  • Measurement
  • Sleep tracker
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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