Sleep Assessments
Actigraphy wristbands to monitor sleep hygiene

What is Actigraphy?

As part of neuroCare's assesment and managment of ADHD, ADD, OCD, Depression & Insomnia, we loan our clients an Actigraphy wristband to assess sleep quality. Clients are asked to wear the wristband over a period of seven days. Actigraphy wristbands have sensors for red, green, blue and Infrared light and also have temperature sensors and accelerometers to measure a persona's daily activity.

Wristbands used by neuroCare are intended for clinical use. Unlike commercially available activity trackers (e.g. Fitbit®), the light sensor technology of Actigraphy wristbands allow our therapists to identify healthy or unwanted blue light exposure in a person's daily routine, as well as to assess sleep quality.

Why is this part of my assessment?

Whether or not a client reports a sleep problem, an Actigraphy assessment usually gives the therapist more insight into presenting symptoms. Smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, LED and fluorescent lamps omit a high spectrum blue light which the human body more naturally needs 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 on sleep quality and sleep duration, thereby affecting mood and attention levels.

After treatment with neuroCare, we recommend wearing the Actigrahy wristband for another 7 days to see if there has been an improvement in sleep, activity levels and exposure to blue light before bed.

Did you know?

Studies show that adults and children who have symptoms of or are diagnosed with AD(H)D, Depression or OCD, are more likely to have an underlying sleep problem. Our research and clinical experience shows that a client is more likely to respond to their treatment if their sleep problem has also been addressed.

Too much blue light at night?

Overexposure to blue light in the evenings, and especially before bedtime, can disturb a person's natural circadian rhythm. When our circadian rhythms are disturbed this can impact sleep quality, mood and attention levels, contributing to feelings and symptoms of Depression or ADHD, for example.

What does Actigraphy show?

After 7 days the therapist will go through the Actigraphy data, presesnted on a chart which visualises sleep patterns, activity levels and light in the wearer's surroundings. This will indicate whether or not sleep times were consistent or disturbed due to other factors, such as blue light or activity levels.

An example of Actigraphy over 7 days, showing surrounding blue light before bedtime

What do I do when I get my wristband?

You can wear your Actigraphy wristband as soon as you are given it and it will start measuring your activity, temperature and light surroundings straight away. These wristbands are splash-proof and can be worn in the shower, but should not be submerged underwater (i.e. swimming, diving, bathing). If you feel you need to take it off for an activity this is okay, but it is important you wear it as much as possible and especially while you are sleeping. When you go to bed we ask you to hold down the button* until it beeps. When you wake up we ask you to press it again. If you forget to press the button before bed and after waking up, there is no need to worry. All the button does is make a mark on your actigraphy data at the time you press it. If you forget to press it we will still be able to assume what time you went to bed or woke up based on your activity reading and light intake, however, the reason we ask you to press the button is that it is good to know what time you intended to go to bed and wake up so this helps us to more precisely analyse the data.

*Note: the button is not an ON/OFF function. The wristband is always ON until it is returned to neuroCare.

At the same time you are given your wristband at the clinic, we will provide you with a "sleep/wake diary" for you to complete over the 7 days so we can compare the data with other factors the wrist-band cannot identify. It also gives you a chance to write down the time you go to bed and wake up if you have forgotten to press the button. 

You are asked to press the 'event marker' at the moment you intend to sleep, and when you wake up

Tips for better sleep and better health

  • Keep a routine. Set your alarm to wake up at the same time every day and try to go to bed at a similar time each night.

  • Do not oversleep. Wake up early enough so that you can be exposed to enough blue light from the sun in the morning hours (when you need it the most).

  • Try to use dim lights in the evenings and avoid exposure to bright LED or fluorescent lights.

  • Avoid smartphone, tablet or laptop use before going to bed as the blue light from the screens will be in close proximity to your eyes (TV is okay as the screen is usually further away)

  • If you do use a smarthone, tablet or laptop before bed, use applications to reduce blue light on the screen (e.g. f.lux software on computers, Nightshift app on iOS)

  • If it is hard to change your environment, try wearing blue light blocking glasses, 2-3 hours before you intend to go to sleep. You can buy blue light blocking glasses from a number of online retailers.