Non-contact Actigraphy Based Sleep Monitoring


Lorcan Walsh, Sean McLoone


Sleeping problems are a commonly reported complaint in elders, only behind pain and memory decline. There are many potential causes, such as an underlying medical condition, the side effect of medication, pain and respiratory problems. Recent research has shown that sleep disturbances may be indicative of poor health and functional deficits.

Sleep monitoring technology allows the constant and continuous collection of data each night during which the traits of many diseases and illnesses still exist. This should be viewed as an opportunity to monitor the progression of a disease or illness over time. Recent research has highlighted, using case studies, that sudden or progressive changes in nocturnal activity or physiological functions can highlight the degradation of an elder's health.

Actigraphy wrist watches are a commonly deployed accelerometer-based technique of estimating sleeping patterns. However, these devices are considered a hindrance and as a result are often unsuitable for long term monitoring. This project proposes a solution in the form of an unobtrusive under mattress bed sensor (UMBS), consisting of twenty four distributed pressure sensing 'taxels'. An UMBS has been deployed in two settings; in an in-house experiment and in a pilot study which was carried out by the Digital Health Group in Intel, in which the social rhythms of ten community dwelling older adults were related to nocturnal activity patterns. This project is part of a wider initiative which is focusing on increasing the independence of elders through technology. Projects, such as the one described above, aim to alleviate the burden on the health care system, health care professionals and care-givers.

Papers: (2010 - 2012)

J. Behan, D. Pendergast, B. Quigley, and L. Walsh, "Determining the relationship between sleep and social activity in community-dwelling older people". Gerontechnology, May 2008, 7(2):70.

Behan, J., Prendergast, D., Walsh, L. & Quigley, B., "Social Rhythms and Nocturnal Routines in Community Dwelling Older Adults.". International Journal of Assistive Robotics and Mechatronics (IJARM). special edition entitled "Ambient Intelligence in Smart Homes: Eldercare with Interventions and Activity Modeling, Reasoning & Recognition", Vol.9, No.4. 2008.

L Walsh and S McLoone, "Validation of a Non-Contact Under-Mattress In-Bed Movement and Respiration Monitoring System", Submitted to Journal of Assisted Living and Smart Environments, Sept 2012.