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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Sleep Research
Page(s) 1 - 15
Title of proceedings Journal of Sleep Research
DOI 10.1111/jsr.13134

Open Access

Type of Open Access Publisher (Gold Open Access)


Actigraphy is a cost‐efficient method to estimate sleep–wake patterns over long periods in natural settings. However, the lack of methodological standards in actigraphy research complicates the generalization of outcomes. A rapidly growing methodological diversity is visible in the field, which increasingly necessitates the detailed reporting of methodology. We address this problem and evaluate the current state of the art and recent methodological developments in actigraphy reporting with a special focus on infants and young children. Through a systematic literature search on PubMed (keywords: sleep, actigraphy, child *, preschool, children, infant), we identified 126 recent articles (published since 2012), which were classified and evaluated for reporting of actigraphy. Results show that all studies report on the number of days/nights the actigraph was worn. Reporting was good with respect to device model, placement and sleep diary, whereas reporting was worse for epoch length, algorithm, artefact identification, data loss and definition of variables. In the studies with infants only (n = 58), the majority of articles (62.1%) reported a recording of actigraphy that was continuous across 24 hr. Of these, 23 articles (63.9%) analysed the continuous 24‐hr data and merely a fifth used actigraphy to quantify daytime sleep. In comparison with an evaluation in 2012, we observed small improvements in reporting of actigraphy methodology. We propose stricter adherence to standards in reporting methodology in order to streamline actigraphy research with infants and young children, to improve comparability and to facilitate big data ventures in the sleep community.