Actigraphy: a means of assessing circadian patterns in human activity

Chronobiol Int. 1990;7(2):125-33. doi: 10.3109/07420529009056964.


Twenty-three diurnally active (0705-2333), healthy persons between 22 and 54 years of age and without history of sleep abnormality were monitored continuously for 120 consecutive hr (five days) by wrist actigraphy. Circadian rhythms of high amplitude were detected by cosinor analysis for each participant and for the groups of 10 males and 13 females with the average span of heightened activity timed between approximately 1330 and 1605. The circadian peak-trough difference in wrist movement was marked, equalling approximately 75% of the 24-hr mean level. In 19 of 23 participants, the 24-hr mean of wrist activity varied between 140-180 movements/min, with four persons exhibiting lesser means of 110-140 movements/min. With respect to the daytime span of activity, the mean wrist movement of individual participants ranged from 155-265 movements/min, with the majority (20/23) varying between 185-245 movements/min. During nocturnal sleep the mean wrist activity level was quite low, varying between individuals from 5 to 25 movements/min for 21 of 23 persons. Wrist actigraphy proved to be well-accepted and was a most reliable means of monitoring aspects of body movement during activity and sleep in ambulatory persons adhering to usual life habits and pursuits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Wrist