January 2021 | Reviewed by: Shelley Hershner, MD and John Saito, MD
What is actigraphy?
During actigraphy, you wear a device provided by your medical provider 24 hours a day. Typically, a device similar to a wristwatch is used. The monitor is worn for a few days up to two weeks.
Actigraphy primarily measures your movement. Some advanced devices also measure light exposure. It does not measure sleep directly and uses the absence of movement to indicate sleep. Actigraphy data is interpreted to determine your sleep-wake patterns.
Actigraphy is used, sometimes in conjunction with additional tests, to help diagnose some sleep disorders and monitor the effectiveness of treatments. Examples of how actigraphy is used follow:
Actigraphy should not be used to diagnose periodic limb movement disorder.
Your doctor will evaluate the data collected by actigraphy and discuss next steps with you.