4 Things You Can Learn From Tracking Your Sleep
It’s unlikely that anyone would argue with the idea that sleep is important to health. It’s the time when our brains and bodies repair and rest, as well as regulate hormones and keep cortisol (AKA the stress hormone) low. And that barely scratches the surface regarding the importance of sleep. As wellness wearables become more popular, the popularity of sleep tracking has risen as well.
Using fitness trackers for tracking sleep, doesn’t mean you’ll get the full picture about your quality of sleep. A lab setting is best for the most accurate data, but they do track movement and can measure patterns over time like how long you typically sleep and your heart rate. Here’s what else you can learn by tracking your sleep.
Here's What Sleep Trackers Can Teach You:
Like we said above, the first thing sleep trackers can tell us is how long we’ve slept. Most devices, like the Fitbit, analyze patterns over time and use graphs to inform users of trends. Trackers can let you know if you’re consistently running a sleep deficit (meaning that you consistently aren’t sleeping enough), and help you via reminders and other tools to create a sleep schedule.
While it would take a full-on sleep study to truly determine how much time you’re spending in the various stages of sleep; some wearables can come close. Jawbone’s UP takes this to another level, and can tell users if their alarm is going off at the proper time. Additionally, users can use the UP (and other trackers) to set a window during which they want to wake. The device will monitor your sleep and gently wake you at the most optimal time.
From the most basic point of view, a sleep tracker considers you asleep when you are still and your heart rate lowers. It considers you awake or restless when you move from a still to a moving state. This could tell you that you have a sleep disorder, like restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea. If your tracker consistently shows interrupted sleep patterns, investigate. Is there a neighbor who comes home late and their lights or noises disturb your sleep? Or do you need to talk to your doctor about testing for sleep disorders?
Many sleep tracking apps are free, and with any free service, that means you are the product. Sleep data is no exception, and it provides interesting insights on the masses. For example, from sleep tracking data, we know Tokyo averages 5 hours and 44 minutes of sleep making it the most sleepless city. The helpfulness of this data on a personal level might seem negligible. But there’s no doubt of the potential value to doctors, insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and more... Basically anyone with a vested interest in health and wellness of a population.
Sleep Trackers for a Better Night’s Sleep.
Save recording ourselves while we sleep or keeping a dream journal, none of us know what happens while we sleep. Sleep trackers offer a slice of insight to this state in which we’ll spend nearly a third of our lives.
What insights have you gained from sleep tracking? Share with us in the comment box below!