Here is a question for you.
Do you know how much sleep you get at night?
A while ago, a few friends started using activity trackers to monitor their sleep, and the results were pretty shocking (even to them!).
One person had a vague idea she was tossing and turning all night, but she was stunned to learn she woke up 17 times every night, on average! Another friend quickly topped that, with 24 times. After a while, it almost became a competition or joke between them, but it’s not that funny.
Your sleep has a profound impact on every aspect of your life: it helps keep your body strong and healthy, your mind focused, and your mindset positive!
You can get a head start on learning the truth about your sleep patterns now. When it comes to getting healthier, happier, and more robust, the more info you have, the better off you are. All that data gives you something to work from!
It’s not always about how much sleep you’re getting, although that’s important. It’s also good to know how restful that sleep is and whether you toss and turn all night like those friends.
There are two basic ways to track your sleep.
First, you can go old-school and keep a sleep diary. All you need is a notebook next to your bed. Every night for a week, write down what time you go to bed, and then in the morning, write down what time you woke up and whether you remember waking up (or staying awake) during the night. Then, write down anything else you want to remember.
It’s also a good idea to record how you feel in the morning (groggy, refreshed, etc.) and any naps you take during the day, as well as how tired you feel each day.
The upside of this method is that it doesn’t take any tech, but the downside is that you will only have a vague idea about how much you’re moving around in your sleep.
The second option is to use technology. The upside here is that sleep trackers can provide clues about how restless you are, as well as the quality of your sleep.
The downside is sorting through all the different choices to find the best option because there are many on the market!
Many sleep trackers now record time and quality of sleep and give guidance on how you can improve it. Some even let you know how much time you spend in different sleep stages.
There are two types of trackers: wearable or passive.
The passive trackers include pads you slide under your mattress (Withings is a popular choice) or mattress covers (a company named Eight Sleep makes these). Others, like SleepScore Max, work from your bedside table to gather information. These are good choices for people who don’t want to wear a watch to bed.
If you don’t mind using a wearable device, activity trackers – the same kind you use to track your workouts – can provide additional metrics like your heart rate or temperature.
There are dozens of these on the market now – some automatically track your sleep while others synch with phone apps. These include Fitbits or Garmin trackers, the Oura ring, and more. For example, the Apple Watch doesn’t automatically track your sleep, but it will if you use an app.
Either way, sleep plays such an essential part in your overall long-term health and well-being; it’s worth giving it a little attention by tracking it for a week or so!