Sleep classification from wrist-worn accelerometer data using random forests

Kalaivani Sundararajan, Sonja Georgievska, Bart H.W. te Lindert, Philip R. Gehrman, Jennifer Ramautar, Diego R. Mazzotti, Séverine Sabia, Michael N. Weedon, Eus J.W. van Someren, Lars Ridder, Jian Wang, Vincent T. van Hees

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50 Citations (Scopus)


Accurate and low-cost sleep measurement tools are needed in both clinical and epidemiological research. To this end, wearable accelerometers are widely used as they are both low in price and provide reasonably accurate estimates of movement. Techniques to classify sleep from the high-resolution accelerometer data primarily rely on heuristic algorithms. In this paper, we explore the potential of detecting sleep using Random forests. Models were trained using data from three different studies where 134 adult participants (70 with sleep disorder and 64 good healthy sleepers) wore an accelerometer on their wrist during a one-night polysomnography recording in the clinic. The Random forests were able to distinguish sleep-wake states with an F1 score of 73.93% on a previously unseen test set of 24 participants. Detecting when the accelerometer is not worn was also successful using machine learning (F1-score > 93.31 %), and when combined with our sleep detection models on day-time data provide a sleep estimate that is correlated with self-reported habitual nap behaviour (r =. 60). These Random forest models have been made open-source to aid further research. In line with literature, sleep stage classification turned out to be difficult using only accelerometer data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number24
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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