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Remember when the only way you could tell if you got a good night’s sleep was by how rested you felt and how little you yawned the next day? It doesn’t feel like that long ago, but in recent years technology has stepped in and sleep monitors have taken over. Should you be tracking your sleep? If you’re jumping on the bandwagon, it’s important to know how to monitor sleep effectively and which devices and apps are best for your lifestyle.
How To Monitor Sleep
Companies such as Fitbit, Withings, Garmin™, Samsung, Apple and more have wearable devices that monitor everything from your heart rate, to how many steps you take in a day, to, yes — even your sleep cycles. This technology not only provides a way to see if you slept well, but to see in great detail how many times you woke up, your periods of REM sleep, and more. The devices, usually worn around your wrist, all vary slightly in what they can and cannot do.
Why You Should Monitor Your Sleep
Monitoring your sleep will give you a clear picture of what your typical night of sleep looks like. You can then learn how to better regulate your sleep, and by extension, improve your overall health. A few reasons you should consider monitoring your sleep include:
- Contributes to a healthy lifestyle
- Helps optimize your future sleep patterns
- Motivates you to regulate your sleep
- Wakes you up during light sleep cycles in the morning so you will feel rested throughout the day
How Sleep Trackers Work
While you are asleep, your monitor tracks data such as your heart rate, respiratory rate, surrounding sounds, etc. Synced up to an app, the tracker will tell you what it found the previous night, revealing statistics such as how long you slept, how long you were in a deep sleep, how long you were restless, and more. After a few nights of tracking, it will pick up patterns and typically be able to give advice on things like when you should try to go to bed and wake up, so your future sleep schedule is optimized.
Bracelets and Watches
From Fitbit to Apple Watch, bracelets get the most word of mouth of the sleep monitors. This may be because they provide other advanced features in addition to sleep tracking, but their sleep monitoring technology is impressive in and of itself. Each brand is different, but they are all worn around the wrist to sleep. It tracks your movement while you are sleeping, and then its high-tech software translates that into periods of waking vs. sleeping, plus other data.
There are many types of sleep trackers, not just watches. If you are looking to track very specific sleeping habits, such as snoring or teeth-grinding, an armbandmight be the way to go. This device by Sharper Image does just that. Synced to an app, this band detects and records your snoring and teeth-grinding, so you know the extent of the issue. It even vibrates when you snore so you’ll roll over and learn to stop snoring for good.
Under The Sheet Trackers
If bands or bracelets aren’t your thing, don’t fret. There are monitors you don’t have to wear or charge. In fact, you can place thin monitors under your sheets that are hardly noticeable and very accurate. These typically serve the same function as the watches. They track your movement, respiratory rate, heart rate, sleep cycles, etc. Synced to corresponding apps, you can find out your sleep statistics the next morning. The limitation of these sleep monitors is that they work best if you do not have a sleeping partner.
Bedside Table Monitor
The SleepScore Max Sleep System is considered one of the best and most accurate sleep tracking devices available today. The best part is it goes on your bedside table, and that’s it. It monitors your sleep using echolocation, meaning it fires out ultra-low power radio waves to track your breathing patterns. Each morning, the corresponding app will give you a score based on the quality of your sleep and then tell you whether you're sleeping as well as you should be. If you aren’t, it will give you intel on how to get better rest.
What’s the best sleep app?
Maybe you don’t want a physical monitor tracking your sleep. There are smartphone apps that stand alone. Many are highly rated and free (or cheap).
These apps are able to track your sleep cycles based on sounds, movement/vibration analysis, and your input. Many will have you log your sleep hours and write down how you feel when you wake up. Nearly all of them offer alarm clocks that will wake you up during your lightest phase of sleep, so you won’t feel groggy the next day.
Some of the most highly rated sleep tracking apps that stand alone include: SleepScore, Sleep Cycle, and Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker (which can also be used with a device).
Don’t Sleep On This Trend
Take your sleep tracking data seriously and reassess your sleep system. Once you know how to track sleep—your lifestyle, sleep habits, routine and sleep system will all work together to give you the most restful night’s sleep possible. Visit Mattress Warehouse online and find the sleep accessories you need to enhance your sleep system and achieve restorative sleep night after night. Your body and your sleep tracker will thank you.