A secondary analysis of longitudinal and cohort studies was carried out to quantitatively investigate the motor activity pattern, recorded through actigraphy, during the first six hours of nocturnal sleep. The first study was of longitudinal nature. Ten healthy participants (four females) were monitored three times, at baseline (T1) when they were infants (mean age 7.10 ± 0.32 months), at the first follow-up examination (T2) around 4 months later (mean age 11.20 ± 0.63 months) and at the second follow-up (T3) around three years later, when they were preschoolers (mean age 4.68 ± 0.14 years). At T1, T2 and T3 each participant wore the actigraph Basic Mini-Motionlogger (Ambulatory Monitoring, Inc., Ardsley, NY, USA) over at least two consecutive nycthemeral cycles, with the aim to measure the mean hourly motor activity count. Seven- and 11-month-old infants had a higher level of motor activity over the night compared to preschoolers. Furthermore, motor activity increased as the night progressed, with a pronounced increment at both T1 and T2, while at T3 such an increase was less marked. The second study was cross-sectional and aimed to explore the motor activity pattern, using actigraphy, during the first six hours of nocturnal sleep in multiple-age healthy groups, from infancy to adulthood. We assigned participants to eight groups according to age: 20 (five females) aged around 10 months old (mean age 10.65 ± 0.67 months); 13 (nine females) aged around 4 years (mean age 4.38 ± 0.51 years); 21 (10 females) aged around 10 years (mean age 9.67 ± 0.91 years); 21 (nine females) aged around 20 years (mean age 19.33 ± 2.44 years); 20 (10 females) aged around 30 years (mean age 29.80 ± 1.99 years); 20 (15 females) aged around 40 years (mean age 40.70 ± 1.26 years); 20 (11 females) aged around 50 years (mean age 50.15 ± 2.80 years) and 20 (nine females) aged around 60 years (mean age 59.25 ± 3.23 years). The participants aged between 10 and 60 years wore the actigraph Basic Mini-Motionlogger over seven consecutive nycthemeral cycles (infants and preschoolers wore the actigraph over at least two consecutive nycthemeral cycles), with the aim to measure the mean hourly motor activity count. The results indicated a significantly higher motor activity count in 10-month-old infants compared to all the remaining age groups. Moreover, the pattern of motor activity of 10-month-old infants was different from that of all other groups, with the highest motor activity counts from the second to the sixth hour of sleep. Considered as a whole, the results of both studies converge regarding the high motor activity detected among infants, which could be explained by the presence of a maturational process that has not yet been fully completed at this stage of life. In both studies, only the motor activity of infants was above the cutoff level established for normal adults, highlighting the need to establish a specific cutoff value for infants.
- motor activity
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physiology (medical)