Objectives: Sleep issues are common in children with cerebral palsy (CP), although there are challenges in obtaining objective data about their sleep patterns. Actigraphs measure movement to quantify sleep but their accuracy in children with CP is unknown. Our goals were to validate actigraphy for sleep assessment in children with CP and to study their sleep patterns in a cross-sectional cohort study. Methods: We recruited children with (N = 13) and without (N = 13) CP aged 2–17 years (mean age 9 y 11mo [SD 4 y 10mo] range 4–17 y; 17 males, 9 females; 54% spastic quadriplegic, 23% spastic diplegic, 15% spastic hemiplegic, 8% unclassified CP). We obtained wrist and forehead actigraphy with concurrent polysomnography for one night, and home wrist actigraphy for one week. We developed actigraphy algorithms and evaluated their accuracy (agreement with polysomnography-determined sleep versus wake staging), sensitivity (sleep detection), and specificity (wake detection). Results: Our actigraphy algorithms had median 72–80% accuracy, 87–91% sensitivity, and 60–71% specificity in children with CP and 86–89% accuracy, 88–92% sensitivity, and 70–75% specificity in children without CP, with similar accuracies in wrist and forehead locations. Our algorithms had increased specificity and accuracy compared to existing algorithms, facilitating detection of sleep disruption. Children with CP showed lower sleep efficiency and duration than children without CP. Conclusions: Actigraphy is a valid tool for sleep assessment in children with CP. Children with CP have worse sleep efficiency and duration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalSleep Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Actigraphy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Children
  • Polysomnography
  • Validation


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