Jointly modeling of sleep variables that are objectively measured by wrist actigraphy

Xiaonan Xue, Simin Hua, Kathleen Weber, Qibin Qi, Robert Kaplan, Deborah R. Gustafson, Anjali Sharma, Audrey French, Helen J. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Recently developed actigraphy devices have made it possible for continuous and objective monitoring of sleep over multiple nights. Sleep variables captured by wrist actigraphy devices include sleep onset, sleep end, total sleep time, wake time after sleep onset, number of awakenings, etc. Currently available statistical methods to analyze such actigraphy data have limitations. First, averages over multiple nights are used to summarize sleep activities, ignoring variability over multiple nights from the same subject. Second, sleep variables are often analyzed independently. However, sleep variables tend to be correlated with each other. For example, how long a subject sleeps at night can be correlated with how long and how frequent he/she wakes up during that night. It is important to understand these inter-relationships. We therefore propose a joint mixed effect model on total sleep time, number of awakenings, and wake time. We develop an estimating procedure based upon a sequence of generalized linear mixed effects models, which can be implemented using existing software. The use of these models not only avoids computational intensity and instability that may occur by directly applying a numerical algorithm on a complicated joint likelihood function, but also provides additional insights on sleep activities. We demonstrated in simulation studies that the proposed estimating procedure performed well in estimating both fixed and random effects' parameters. We applied the proposed model to data from the Women's Interagency HIV Sleep Study to examine the association of employment status and age with overall sleep quality assessed by several actigraphy measured sleep variables.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2804-2821
Number of pages18
JournalStatistics in Medicine
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 10 2022


  • Poisson distribution with over-dispersion
  • Tweedie distribution
  • compound Poisson gamma distribution
  • generalized linear mixed effects model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics and Probability


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