Purpose of the investigation was to evaluate the differences of movement density during the sleep stages and waking. 22 diurnally active, healthy, male volunteers of mean age 30.7 (+/-Standard deviation +/- 3.3) years and a Body-Mass-Index 23.6 +/- 3.3 kg/m2 participated in the study. All subjects were recorded in the sleep lab via cardiorespiratory polysomnography and wrist actigraphy (Ambulatory Monitoring, Ardsley, USA) worn on the non-dominant hand, for two consecutive nights. The activity data, consisting of the number of zero crossings (NZC) were recorded in 1-minute periods. Sleep stages were scored visually according to standard criteria. EEG- and actigraphy data were converted to the same data format (European Feature Files). Attaching the actimetry data to the sleep stages was calculated mean NZC for every sleep stage and Wake. In spite of high differences in total individual NZC we observed that most NZC occurred during Wake. NREM 1 movement density was significantly higher in 19 recordings (86%) than in any other sleep stage. In 18 cases (82%) lowest movement density was found in NREM 3/4 with significant difference to all other sleep stages. Within 50% of the recordings were found decreasing activity in the following sequence of stages: Wake > NREM 1 > REM > NREM 2 > NREM 3/4 However, in all other cases there was a varying pattern of activity.
Conclusion: Although there is some correlation between motor activity and sleep stages, the predictive value of actimetry data analysis in the assessment of sleep structure appeared to be limited mainly by individual movement density, especially during REM and NREM 2.