Not every sleep pattern disturbance is a sign of an underlying physiological issue; it’s quite normal to wake up tired and in a bad mood after a late night, a restless night of sleep, or spending the night in an uncomfortable bed. However, healthy sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being in terms of fitness, productivity, mood, and overall health. It’s important to track and monitor your sleeping habits, especially when you’re already having trouble sleeping. Tracking and monitoring allows you to make adjustments that help provide you with a healthier night’s sleep.
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Here are 5 things that help you monitor and track your sleep:
Sleep Cycle, Sleep Time, SleepBot and other similar sleeping apps for smartphones, represent the simplest way to gather information about your sleep. Before turning in for the night, you simply put the phone – preferably plugged in, with the sleep-tracking app running – under your pillow. The phone then tracks your body movement during your sleep.
However, a sleep-tracker app cannot differentiate between movements on different types of mattresses (challenging calibration) or between your movements and those of your partner, thus providing the least reliable results from other, more substantial technological devices.
Wearables - actigraphy devices
Wristbands, such as FitBit and Lark Pro, provide slightly more reliable movement data than that of sleep monitoring apps (even if you share the bed with the most restless sleeper, they probably won’t move your wrists). Wristbands that also monitor heart rate and respiration, such as Basis Peak and Jawbone, take it a step further - not only can these devices determine sleep and wake periods through movement analysis, but also differentiate between REM, deep non-REM, and light non-REM cycles.
Bed-based sleep trackers
Just like with advanced wristbands, bed-ridden sleep trackers, such as Withings Aura, Reston Emfit QS, and Beddit, track not only wake and sleep cycles, but also provide information about the depth of sleep, through utilization of sensors that measure heart rate and respiration. They are available in the form of thin-film sensor devices or mattress pressure sensors.
Contactless sleep monitors
If even a thin-filmed sensor device can disturb your sleep, radar-like tracker ResMed S+ might be a viable alternative. With the use of low-intensity radio waves, it detects subtle body movements, providing information about sleep cycles and the depth of sleep.
Even though not every sleep pattern disturbance is a sign of an underlying physiological issue, none of the personal sleep trackers should serve as a replacement for medical advice. Tracking and monitoring your sleeping habits, can offer you insight that helps you gain a better night’s sleep.