A systematic review of the accuracy of sleep wearable devices for estimating sleep onset

Sleep Med Rev. 2020 Feb:49:101227. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2019.101227. Epub 2019 Nov 6.


The accurate estimation of sleep onset is required for many purposes, including the administration of a behavioural treatment for insomnia called Intensive Sleep Retraining, facilitating power naps, and conducting objective daytime sleepiness tests. Specialised equipment and trained individuals are presently required to administer these applications in the laboratory: a costly and impractical procedure which limits their utility in practice. A wearable device could be used to administer these applications outside the laboratory, increasing accessibility. This systematic review aimed to identify practical wearable devices that accurately estimate sleep onset. The search strategy identified seventy-one articles which compared estimations of sleep onset latency from wearable devices against polysomnography (PSG). Actigraphy devices produced average estimations of sleep onset latency that were often not significantly different from PSG, but there was large inter-individual variability depending on participant characteristics. As expected, electroencephalography-based devices produced more accurate and less variable estimates. Devices that measured behavioural aspects of sleep onset consistently overestimated PSG-determined sleep onset latency, but to a comparatively low degree. This sleep measurement method could be deployed in a simple wearable device to accurately estimate sleep onset and administer Intensive Sleep Retraining, power naps, and objective daytime sleepiness tests outside the laboratory setting.

Keywords: Actigraphy; Consumer sleep technology; Insomnia; Intensive sleep retraining; Polysomnography; Power naps; Sleep; Sleep onset; Systematic review; Wearable technology.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / instrumentation*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Polysomnography / instrumentation*
  • Research Design*
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Latency / physiology*
  • Wearable Electronic Devices*