We all do it. We all know it is good for us.
And the majority of us wish we got more of it.
I’m talking about SLEEP.
Countless studies have shown that getting a good night’s rest can improve mood and stress level, but did you know sleep loss affects your metabolism? Beth Malow, chief of Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Division of Sleep, states, “There are many studies linking not getting enough sleep with diabetes and obesity.”
Seven out of every ten adults in the United States reported daily stress or anxiety that interferes with their lives. This 2007 study by the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, which aimed to examine the effects of stress on sleep, claimed all seven of those individuals also said they have trouble sleeping… well, it is no wonder we are seeing an increase in numbers of diabetic and obese individuals today!
With the announcement of Withings’ new Aura sleep tracking device, the company simultaneously released the results of a study on the habits of waking up. Including data about what we use to wake up and the sounds we prefer to wake up to, the study also said an astonishing 42% of Americans set an alarm earlier than they plan on getting up so they can stay in bed an additional 5-10 minutes.
And what about that dreadful snooze button? Withings reported 57% of people snooze their alarm clock at least once, with over 28% snoozing two or more times! So why is this important?
“Constantly varying the time [you go to bed or you wake up] can lead to ‘social jet lag’ and can make you feel like you’ve just traveled across multiple time zones.” – Brandy Roane, a behavioral sleep specialist with the University of North Texas Health Science Center
For those of you who’ve suffered from jet lag, you know it’s not any fun, sometimes affecting your productivity for days.
The increasingly popularity of health tracking devices and the concept of the ‘quantified self’ has also led to a surge of sleep trackers being developed. But will they really help you manage your sleep?
Like with any data-collecting device, it is important to understand how to use that data. If you simply track your sleep without noticing the trends, then you’re not going to be successful at improving your overall sleep quality or how rested you feel the next day. Roane mentions sleep trackers not taking into account other factors such as ambient light levels or outside noise. While this is true for some fitness trackers that include sleep capabilities, there are several devices now on the market that are solely sleep trackers that do consider these factors.
The same US Health News article, ‘How to Make the Most Out of Your Sleep Tracker,’ includes several helpful tips for putting the data to good use. For instance, even though your tracker may have a tendency to exaggerate the number of times you wake up during the night, it is important to correlate those restless nights with that extra cup of afternoon coffee you keep telling yourself you shouldn’t drink!
In conclusion, it is important to understand what you are interested in learning about, and from there to pick the best method of data collection for you. If you’d like more information about the consequences of insufficient sleep, Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep has a great website devoted to its importance.
Although the devices available today for at-home sleep tracking may not be perfect, learning about your sleep habits and using that knowledge to make positive adjustments in your routine (or lack-there-of), could be an easy way to improve your overall health… something we should all be striving to do!
The comparison table below is in no way an exhaustive list of all available devices or sleep-tracking features, so make sure to fully research devices if you’re planning to buy one!
P.S. Did you know our OneCare Platform can incorporate sleep data as well?! Quickly view all of your important health information in a single personalized dashboard!