Why do some of us wake up feeling drained and vexed despite hitting the bed early? This is because we don’t know if we’ve actually slept well through the night. Some people who suspected a sleep problem, would maintain a daily sleep diary to know how many hours they slept, woke up at night etc. This process was not only tedious but also inaccurate. Sleep trackers are the modern day solution for assessing the sleep pattern to help one make necessary lifestyle changes and understand the gravity of the problem.
The 2 broad categories are Wearable and Non-Wearable. Wearable ones can be worn all through the day to track not only your sleep but other movements too such as Steps, Calories burnt, Heart rate etc. Fitness trackers like Fitbit, Smart watches and smart rings are some examples. Non-wearable sleep trackers are placed in your bedroom under the mattress or next to your bedside and they record data such as sleep hours, snoring, and heart rate. Examples are Nokia Sleep, and Tomorrow Sleeptracker Monitor. The decision of buying wearable or non-wearable should depend on your comfort and budget so research on different brands before investing.
Sleep Trackers help you understand your sleep pattern and identify the factors that help and impact your quantity of sleep. For example how did you sleep on days when you did the following close to bedtime: had coffee, alcohol, an argument, a large meal, or worked late on your laptop as compared to when you had an early dinner, read a book or listened to soft music. The data collected over a period will help you determine the Do’s and Don’ts in your current lifestyle to create positive sleep hygiene.
The information gathered through trackers also helps you detect early signs of a possible sleep disorder that cannot be resolved through simple lifestyle changes but needs counselling from a sleep doctor.
The tracker monitors your sleep and identifies the time when you sleep the lightest as waking up in this time-frame is considered the least stressful. The trackers can be used as alarms to wake you up at the lightest stage of your sleep to avoid morning grouchiness and grogginess.
To conclude Sleep trackers do more than just monitor your sleep but also gather a complex mix of data to give you a more holistic overview of your physical health. They are purely tools for self-assessment, improvement, and raising an alarm about a possible sleep disorder but may not be useful in diagnosing it.