Project cost: £1403

Neurocare funded the establishment of a Sleep Laboratory in 2010 and then purchased an actigraphy system to complement the main sleep lab in 2013. The actigraphy system is used for home investigations and the neurophysiology team at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital note that it has been a great asset, as it allows easy diagnosis and monitoring of Periodic Limb Movement Disorder in patients’ homes without the need for a hospital admission. The success of the actigraphy system has been such that a second recording system (no further software required) is now desired, to allow more patients to benefit from this investigation technique.


Periodic Limb Movement Disorder is a very common movement disorder sometimes associated with restless legs syndrome which causes patients legs and/or arms to move throughout the night. This is a debilitating condition which results in excessive daytime sleepiness and is therefore disruptive to the patients’ lives in terms of their occupations, relationships and the fact they are more likely to have accidents operating machinery and driving. The disorder is treatable with a number of drugs but there is no real way of quantifying the effect of therapy. The actigraphy system calculates the Periodic Limb Movement Index (i.e. number of limb movements per hour) and gives a good idea of the severity of the condition and whether there is improvement with therapy.

Advantages of the actigraphy system:

  • Recording takes place in the patient’s own environment and therefore records more natural sleep than that seen in hospital.
  • Recordings can be performed for several days or weeks so no expensive bed stay is required and patterns of sleep over a period can be easily assessed. This is particularly useful in patients who have disordered sleep hygiene or disorders affecting their circadian rhythms.