When it comes to sleep one thing’s for certain; most people are not getting enough of it. Even if you are getting your recommended 7-9 hours per night, it may not be of the quality you require to feel well rested for the day ahead. One thing you could do to improve your sleep hygiene is to start using a sleep tracker.
A sleep tracker may be a wearable device, a mobile app, or a smart strip that you keep in your bed. These devices make many claims depending on their type and capabilities, including being able to monitor your sleep patterns as well as measuring your heart rate and how long you spend in each stage of sleep. All this data is recorded so you can keep track of it over time and try to optimize your sleeping patterns.
How Sleep Trackers Work
Most devices use what’s known as an accelerometer. This is a mechanism built into most smartphones. Its purpose is to sense movement. When linked to a sleep tracker app, the accelerometer measures how much you move while you sleep. This information is then applied to an algorithm which calculates sleep time and quantity. Some more sophisticated sleep trackers also claim to break down and track sleep stages, as well as measuring skin and room temperatures. The sensitivity of the device and the accuracy of the algorithm differ between products. Check out this website to get the lowdown on sleep tracker reviews.
How you Can Benefit From a Sleep Tracker
The important question is, how much can you realistically expect from a sleep tracker? If you want one that can offer you the most benefits then you’re better off paying the extra money for a wearable device. But even then, how accurate are these devices? According to Professor Paul Gringras, specialist in children’s sleep medicine and neuro-disability, at the Evelina Clinic at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital UK, tracking devices which use an accelerometer are able to tell the difference between when you are moving in your sleep and when you are up and about performing your daily activities, but that’s about it. He claims that the only way you can truly tell which stage of sleep a person is in is by attaching electrodes to their head and measuring their EEG while they sleep.
So can a sleep tracker really benefit you at all? If you bear in mind that these devices don’t claim to change your sleep pattern for you, but to help you track it, then you may be able to get some benefits from them after all. For example, a wearable device with an accelerometer will tell you if you are making a lot of movement during the night, and at what times and if and this relates to the temperature of your body or the rooms. By having this information, you could change your sleeping environment to be more conducive to a restful night’s sleep.