A sleep tracker is a device or app that monitors your sleep and tells you how much sleep you are getting, and the quality of that sleep. With the growing awareness that proper sleep is the cornerstone of good health, many are turning to this technology to measure how well they are doing.
The sleep tracker
There are many different trackers available today from wearables such a smart watch, to apps which you down load on your phone. Some of them monitor your movement to assess if you are sleeping and how deeply you are sleeping, and others measure your heartbeat and breathing pattern.
They range in price from a few hundred rands to as much as R10 000. They offer sophisticated data, graphs, insights with features like recording your breathing (and snoring) and playing white noise to help you sleep.
What do the experts say?
Some people swear by their tracker, and religiously monitor their progress. There are two major concerns experts have about whether they work, however.
Accuracy of Data
Sleep experts warn that the data produced by a tracker is not always accurate. There are limitations in what it can record. For example if you are lying still in the middle of the night staring up at the ceiling because you can’t sleep, your tracker will register you as sound asleep. Users could be basing their sleep decisions around inaccurate data.
The risk of increasing insomnia
For some the intense focus on their sleep patterns raises anxiety to such a level that they no longer sleep well. Experts have coined the new term orthosomnia to describe the disorder of preoccupation or obsession with improving one’s sleep data. For many this translates into deteriorating quality and quantity of sleep.
On the other hand
Manufacturers and developers are quick to point out the value of their products. They say they are providing tools to customers to help them take charge of their sleep time routines, and improve their sleep.
Their argument is the number of people that experience orthosomnia is minimal, especially when compared to the millions that benefit from this technology.
What do we think?
The sleep tracker is here to stay in our opinion. They are growing in popularity and many people are gaining great benefit from using them.
Tracking and monitoring, while helpful, is only part of of it. For example taking your blood pressure reading every day, or stepping on the scale every morning, is not going to change your blood pressure or your weight.
By all means use that sleep tracker, but do all the tried and tested things to get your best night’s sleep. The best way to improve your sleep is to practice good sleep hygiene.
- Put that phone away at least an hour before you go to sleep.
- Have a bedtime routine signalling it is time to sleep
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day
- Keep the temperature of the room between 15 and 19 degrees
- Make sure your room is as dark as possible
- Drink enough water in the day and get enough sunlight
- Do some exercise, regularly
- And have a comfortable bed and pillow
If you are tossing and turning at night, maybe it is time to get a new bed. Speak to us on Live Chat and we’ll help you find the perfect bed for your needs and budget.