New technologies have brought many things – both good and bad. Sleep tracking is just one among them. Why you should track your sleep patterns and how to do it? Is it necessary or is it just another trend, unnecessary, and a waste of money? Do sleep trackers truly help you in any way? We explore all of that in this article and try to answer as coherently as possible.
Why you should be sleep tracking?
Sleep tracking is becoming more and more popular in recent years. However, not everyone believes it can help you in any way. Yet, it does help you explore how you spend your nights and can show you how to improve your sleep.
When we sleep, we don’t know what we are doing, how good we sleep, do we breathe through our mouth or our nose, how long does it take us to fall asleep, how often do we change position, how long it takes us to wake up, when do we naturally wake up without using the alarm clock, are we cold or hot during the nights, what is our sleeping position, how does our heart rate look like during the night, etc.
This is why we can use sleep tracking monitors and tools. To get an insight into what our sleep looks like. And when we explore it deep enough we can start implementing improvements.
Why does sleep matter?
Sleep is essential for our life and our health. It is strongly connected with our gut, sugar regulation in our bodies, heart rate, and hormone levels, and even impacts how we fight viruses and bacteria. It is connected to healing processes, muscle regeneration, digestion, and many other health functions.
WHO (World health organization) has proclaimed a world sleep pandemic. The majority of people sleep less than 7 hours of sleep which drastically impacts our health in many different ways.
Interestingly, we often still think we sleep enough. We tell ourselves we went to bed early enough and we try to sleep more during the weekends to make up for the lost hours of sleep during the week. However, once we start tracking our sleep we usually realize, we don’t sleep enough. This is why sleep tracking is so useful. It gives us a real insight into how we sleep. And helps us improve on that.
Sleep cycle – what it is and how it looks like?
The sleep cycle consists of different stages of sleep we experience. One sleep cycle is usually around 90 minutes long. Then it repeats itself.
– 1st and 2nd stage: Light Sleep (non-REM sleep)
– 3rd and 4th stage: Deep Sleep (also part of non-REM sleep)
– 5th stage: REM Sleep (rapid-eye-movement sleep)
Our brain is most active in REM sleep but all stages are essential for a good night’s sleep and we cannot skip any of them. The length of each stage in each sleep cycle changes during the night. So we need to sleep through the whole night (at least 8 hours per night) to get enough of all the stages.
How to track your sleep?
You can track many different things when talking about sleep tracking. You should think about what you would like to see and where you think you can improve your sleep. Let’s see what sleep trackers can track:
– duration of your sleep,
– the quality of your sleep,
– how long do you spend in each sleep stage,
– what is your environment like (temperature, light),
– lifestyle factors impacting your sleep (alcohol consumption, exercise, etc.),
– your basic body functions (heart rate, body temperature),
– video recording of your sleep,
– movements and noise, etc.
Sleep trackers – what to choose and how?
Firstly, we should decide on the type of sleep tracker. We can have a wearable product or a product we don’t wear on ourselves. Wearable products include:
– smart watchers,
Non-wearable products are:
– sleep camera,
– phone app,
Then you should decide on the price you are willing to pay and what exactly would you like to track. Different devices often give you completely different results. Knowing what exactly you want to see is one of the key elements when deciding on what to buy.
Sleep camera as a sleep tracker
Sleep tracking with the help of a sleep camera is relatively new. The majority of night cameras are not useful for sleep recording because they use light which interrupts our sleep. Good sleep recording footage will give you a big insight into how you spend your nights. It is usually a lot of fun seeing yourself sleeping. You will be able to see:
– your sleeping position,
– if you talk,
– if you sleep with your mouth,
– if you are sleepwalking,
– if you are teeth grinding,
Sleep recording with a sleep camera is relatively cheap. You can purchase the camera and other elements with the help of our guide, then download the software and start recording your sleep. The software is completely free for you to use 😊
How to improve your sleep with sleep tracking?
Sleep tracking shows you which improvements can be made based on your personal data. Here are some hints:
– If you see yourself sleeping with your mouth open, try taping them and breathe through your nose.
– If you see yourself sleeping on the side and you have knee problems or problems with your pelvis, use a pillow between your legs to improve posture.
– If you see your heartbeat too high during the night – try exercising earlier during the day and avoid alcohol and food before sleep (this is suggested in any way, no matter your heartbeat).
– If you see you remove your blanket during the night, try using a lighter blanket.
– If you do not sleep at least 8 hours each night, make a schedule to change that.