Sleep is a vital part of our everyday lives – in fact, the average person spends around a third of their time in slumber. However, for many people, the quest to catching the right amount of sleep, or enjoying sleep of good enough quality, is a tough one to achieve.
Because so many people suffer from restless nights, there’s a wealth of information and recommendations out there on how to get a better night’s sleep, but how can know for sure if these recommendations are working for you?
That’s where sleep tracking comes into the equation. Read on to discover more about sleep tracking and the benefits of adopting this process into your own routine.
What exactly is sleep tracking?
Sleep tracking refers to recording the quantity and quality of your sleep on a daily basis. By doing so, you’re able to assess how well you are sleeping and how much of an effect, if any, this could be having on your day to day life.
It’s a more modern approach to the traditional research method, polysomnography, whereby an individual’s sleep was monitored in a lab environment, with a number of wires attached to them to assess their sleep.
Of course, in these environments, it’s difficult to have a clear picture of how someone would typically sleep, whereas sleep tracking can be carried out in the comfort of your own home, in your own bed, and with minimal equipment required.
The benefits of tracking your sleep
It doesn’t take much to begin tracking your sleep and, when you do, you’ll thoroughly appreciate the results from it and how they can make a positive impact on your health and lifestyle. Here are just a few of the many benefits you’ll receive from tracking your sleep.
It can be used to find what’s causing your sleep issues
There’s a number of factors that can cause you to have trouble sleeping, from the environment you’re sleeping in, to how you spent the last few hours of your day, for example. By tracking your sleep, you can see if there’s any change in the length or quality of your sleep as you make changes to your routine, one at a time.
So for example, your sleep tracking could show improvements to your sleeping pattern, after you’d stopped watching tv late at night, or drinking a coffee after dinner.
You’ll feel more motivated to improve your sleep quality
Research has found that when we track or record something we are hoping to improve, we become more motivated to carry on, just by being able to see and monitor our progress.
Just as someone looking to lose weight will feel more motivated as they record the pounds dropping off, someone looking to improve their sleeping routine will feel more motivated by recording the changes over time.
A better understanding of how much sleep is right for you
It’s recommended that we should have anything between 7-9 hours of sleep every night, however studies have also found that the right amount of sleep for one person can vary significantly to that of someone else. Whilst you might feel refreshed and rejuvenated after 7 hours sleep, someone else may need an extra couple of hours to get there.
Tracking your sleep at times when you don’t need to set an alarm, such as over the weekend, can help you to monitor how long you naturally sleep for and after how many hours you tend to wake up. From there, you can set yourself a routine for days when an alarm is needed, knowing that you’ll still be able to have the right amount of hours for sleep.
You’ll wake up during the best sleep cycle
With some sleep trackers, you are able to set a time when you would like to wake up, and they will find the most beneficial time to wake you up within that period. These trackers look for when you are within the light sleep stage, so that when you are woken up by the alarm, it’s less harsh than if you were in a deep slumber.
With this technology, you’ll feel much more rested and ready to face the day ahead, than you would if the alarm disrupted you during a deep sleep stage.
You have the facts in front of you
Studies have found that many people either underestimate or overestimate how much sleep they get every night. With a sleep tracker, you’re able to see exactly how much sleep you are receiving each night, as well as how much of the REM, light and deep sleep stages you are spending time in. Using this information, you have a much more detailed view of the state of your sleeping health.
How can you track your sleep?
There are a few ways of tracking your sleep, from the traditional polysomnography method, to something as simple as making notes in a sleep journal. The most popular and modern method, however, is investing in a fitness band with added sleep tracker feature.
These small and sophisticated bands fit on your wrist exactly as a watch would, however their straps are often made using a rubbery material for added comfort whilst you sleep. For some, you need to put the tracker into sleep mode, whereas the more upmarket bands will be able to tell for themselves when you have fallen into a slumber.
This new technology makes tracking sleep a simple and convenient part of our everyday lifestyles. With just the touch of a button, you’re able to analyse your sleep and make that first step towards improving your sleep for a healthier life overall.