Actigraphy Sleep Assessments

Monitoring Blue Light Exposure and Sleep / Wake Behaviours

Why is it important?

Whether a client reports a sleep problem or not, an Actigraphy assessment gives the therapist more insight into presenting symptoms. Smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, LED and fluorescent lamps give off blue light which the human body more naturally needs during daylight hours. Overexposure to blue spectrum light in the evenings and especially before bedtime, stops our bodies from releasing sleep-inducing melatonin. This can have a big effect on our quality of sleep and duration of sleep. When we do not have good sleep this can affect our mood and attention.


What does Actigraphy show?

The chart to the right shows an example of Actigraphy data over 7 days. It visualizes a sleep patterns, activity level as well as blue spectrum light in the person’s surroundings. It indicates whether sleep times are consistent or disturbed due to other factors, such as blue light or activity levels. We particularly look at blue light exposure just before going to sleep.


What to do when you get your wristband

Instructions


Wearing the wristband

You can wear your wristband as soon as your are given it and it will start measuring your activity, temperature and light surroundings straight away. The device is water-resistant but please do not submerge it under water. Take it off before bathing or swimming.

If you feel you need to take it off for an activity this is okay, but it’s important you wear it as much as possible and especially while you are sleeping.


Remember

Please try to remember to press the blue button on the wristband when you go to bed and when you get up out of bed (the button will beep if it is pressed correctly.)

NOTE: The button is not an ON/OFF function, that wristband is always ON



Completing your Sleep / Wake Diary

So that we can better analyse the data of the wristband, we will ask you to fill in a simple Sleep/Wake diary over the 7 days, to let us knowother details about your routine (e.g. when you have caffeine, alcohol, medications etc.)




Not sure if this is the right approach for you or a loved one?

Our support staff can answer your questions

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand you may have many questions about the Actigraphy Sleep Assessment. Here are common questions we are asked about wearing the wristband and why it is part of the assessment.

  • I don’t believe I have a sleep problem, why must I do an Actigraphy Assessment?
  • What do I do with my wristband?
  • What is the difference between this device and other activity trackers (e.g. FitBit)?
  • Why is it important to track blue light?
  • I can already tell my therapist that I don’t sleep well, what is the wristband going to tell me that I don’t know already?
I don’t believe I have a sleep problem, why must I do an Actigraphy Assessment?

Regardless of whether you have reported a sleep problem, we would like to look at your sleep/wake behaviour as a reference to your QEEG (Quantitative EEG) Assessment (i.e. your brain activity.) Patients who report difficulty with mood or attention quite frequently have a sleep problem. With Actigraphy, we can understand the extent of this problem or rule it out as a contributor to your symptoms or feelings.

What do I do with my wristband?

Just wear the wristband for 7 days so we can collect continuous data of your activity, sleep / wake behaviour. We only ask you to push the blue button on the wrist-band when you intend to go to sleep and when you wake up. This will make a marker on your “Actigraphy chart” (which we will generate for you once you have handed the device back into the clinic).  While the Actigraphy data will show us when you likely went to sleep and when you wake up, by pressing this button this is just a way to cross-check the data.

If you forget to press the button, do not panic. We can still make an assessment.

What is the difference between this device and other activity trackers (e.g. FitBit)?

The difference with Actigraphy is that it has a light sensor to track your exposure to blue light in the evenings. This is explained in the next question.

Why is it important to track blue light?

Smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, LED an fluorescent lamps emit a high spectrum blue light which the human brain more naturally needs to be exposed to during daylight hours. Overexposure to blue spectrum light in the evenings, and especially before bedtime, counteracts the body’s release of sleep-inducing melatonin. This impacts sleep quality and sleep duration, thereby affecting mood and attention levels.

By tracking blue light exposure against your sleep and wake patterns, we can see if the light in your environment is affecting your sleep.

I can already tell my therapist that I don’t sleep well, what is the wristband going to tell me that I don’t know already?

Visualizing our sleep / wake patterns and general activity patterns can be an eye-opening experience. There are different types of sleep problems, for example people who show lengths of restlessness before falling asleep (this is called “sleep onset latency”), or people who fall asleep but appear to be restless during the night. These differences may explain what we see in the QEEG assessment.

Furthermore, by looking at your exposure to blue light, this is a way to educate you on the importance of being aware of exposure, and to introduce new strategies and behaviours which can help you achieve good sleep. The light sensor can also let us know if there is too much blue light in your bedroom, for example.

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