Actigraphy is offering answers to patients with disorders such as insomnia. It can be very efficient in examining patients with sleep problems such as insomnia. On the other hand, the possibility that this study can predict psychological conditions in the future is being studied. Beyond this, it is a method seen as useful from psychiatry for multiple reasons.
The observations and tests carried out so far highlight its ability to obtain some objective data. Another factor in favor is its low cost in relation to other types of tests. Now, what do actigraphs consist of?
Actigraphy: analyzing how you move while you sleep
The actigraphy is a test that allows to verify how is the movement of people while they sleep. To do this, a sensor called an accelerometer is placed on the patient, which measures the intensity of its kinetics. This appliance can be worn on both the wrist and the ankle.
The data of the movements are passed directly to a computer and verified from a software. This allows specialists to establish sleep and wake patterns in patients with sleep problems. That is, it allows you to know when the rest is deep and also the moments when it is not.
The accelerometer can provide a fairly comprehensive pattern of how night rest occurs. This device can indicate, for example, how long a person lasts to be able to fall asleep. Similarly, the psychiatrist has an idea of what the patient’s actual rest time is. Generally, long-term testing is done in order to have quality samples.
Actigraphy vs Polysomnography
Both actigraphy and polysomnography can provide objective data regarding sleep. Actually, the second test would allow to obtain more data due to its characteristics. However, the use of the accelerometer has a great advantage: its low cost.
Polysomnography is very complete and of proven quality, but its application can be very expensive. This is due to the use of electrodes that allow measurements such as heart rate or respiration. For this reason, patients usually undergo this test for only one night.
In contrast, actigraphy allows for longer studies in patients. Its low cost makes it possible to carry out test sessions for a greater number of days. This, of course, implies the possibility of establishing very complete sleep patterns.
Of course, Everything will depend on the preferences that the specialist has when making his evaluations. There is still much analysis being done on the scope that actigraphy can have in the diagnosis and prediction of advanced psychological disorders.