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Actigraphy for monitoring sleep and wake patterns

What is actigraphy?

Actigraphy is a method of monitoring movement over days or weeks in real life situations.

What do we record?

We record body movements and light levels with an actiwatch that is worn like a wrist watch. This does not hurt.

What are we looking for?

We are looking to see what your child’s sleep and wake pattern looks like over 14 days and nights.

When does my child need to start wearing the actiwatch?

The front page of the diary card included in your pack will tell you which date to start wearing the actiwatch and which date to stop wearing the actiwatch. It is usually worn for 2 weeks.

Your child needs to wear the actiwatch all of the time during this period except for when bathing, showering or swimming where the actiwatch will need to be removed

Photograph of person wearing actiwatch on their wrist

How does my child wear the actiwatch?

The actiwatch has been pre-programmed to start on the date and time in your pack. The actiwatch will not record outside these times. At the required start time put the actiwatch on your child’s non-dominant wrist (this is on the hand they do not write with). Fasten the strap so that the watch is comfortable. The actiwatch should be worn all day and all night.

Whenever your child gets into bed to try and sleep, press the button on the front of the watch (has a circle in the centre). When your child gets out of bed in the morning, press the same button again.

The actiwatch switches itself on and off and also has a green flashing light on the front when it is recording.

What is the sleep diary for?

We have also given you a paper sleep diary. Please fill this in during the time that your child wears the actiwatch. This will help us work out your child’s sleep and wake patterns. You can also use the ‘comments page’ at the back of the sleep diary to write down any special events such as when the watch is removed, holidays, weekends, and so on.

How do I return the actiwatch?

Once the actiwatch has been worn for the arranged time, it can be taken off your child’s wrist.

A member of the Sleep Physiology Team will ring you to arrange collection of the actiwatch and diary card.

If your child has not been able to wear the actiwatch for the whole 2 weeks, then please contact the Sleep Physiology Team on 0114 305 3042 so that we can arrange collection earlier.

What happens next?

Once we have the actiwatch back at the Sleep House, the information is downloaded and analysed by the Sleep Physiology Team. Within a few weeks the results will be sent to the referring doctor.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns you can speak to the sleep physiology team on 0114 305 3042. Please leave a message on our answer phone and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

The Sleep House, 20 Claremont Crescent, Sheffield, S10 2TA

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SLP1

Resource Type: Article

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United Kingdom

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