The Power of Sleep Tracking
On average we spend one third of our lives asleep, which equates to a little over 26 years spent in slumber. Given the enormity of this fact, it’s of no surprise that a wave of recent scientific research has proven sleep to be fundamental to our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
To quote one sleep researcher “For every great house party, you need a great clean up operation”, which in our case is sleep. Responsible for everything from the growth and repair of new and damaged cells to the management of weight, the research suggests that being able to sleep at night is what enables us to perform at our very best during the day.
Diet, exercise and sleep are often referred to as the three pillars of health. It makes sense to sort out your sleep first if you are serious about improving your overall wellbeing. Recent research suggests that sleep plays a pivotal role in managing weight by regulating the appetite hormones Leptin and Ghrelin, which explains why we often feel hungrier after a poor night than when well rested. A good night’s sleep has also been demonstrated to enhance sports performance in collegiate basketball players with improvements in sprint times and shooting accuracy occurring after sleep extension.
Why is it then that most of us are not getting enough sleep and more often than not wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed? One of the biggest culprits is modern technology; the lure of smart phones, tablets, games consoles and the internet keeping our brains awake for longer than ever before. Ironically, despite being the problem, advances in technology may also hold the solution. For example, in recent years we’ve seen the arrival of sleep tracking devices, enabling us to harness the performance enhancing effects of sleep.
Sleep trackers come in many shapes and sizes including applications on your smart phone, wearable devices and bedside monitors. Traditionally such devices have estimated sleep using inbuilt accelerometers to measure body movement during the night. Sadly the correlation between movement and sleep is not reliable with many devices confusing lying still awake, with sleeping and therefore failing to accurately measure sleep duration and quality. Thankfully a new wave of devices are beginning to emerge such as the S+ By Resmed which uses advanced bio-motion sensor technology to monitor breathing and body movement, allowing greater accuracy. The S+ is also the only non-contact device, allowing for a better night’s sleep whilst tracking.
Sleep tracking offers the ability to accurately measure your sleep quality and duration, allowing you for the first time to reliably understand how you sleep and therefore create a plan of change.
Many devices also allow you to track lifestyle habits such as caffeine and alcohol intake and exercise and stress levels. The S+ also captures information about your sleeping environment such as the level of light, noise and temperature allowing you to create the optimal sleep haven for your needs. The result is that you can implement educated changes to the way you live your life and track the benefits in real time.
The S+ has spent over 10 years in research and development and has undergone 10 independent clinical trials approving its accuracy. It’s now tracked over 2 million nights of sleep and since its launch the US has been proven to increase total sleep time of ‘below average sleepers’ by an extra 45 minutes per night after one week of use.
In conclusion, sleep tracking could be hailed as a possible antidote to the current epidemic levels of sleeplessness seen within the UK and around the world. Given its impact on our ability to perform at our best during the day, it could arguably be considered as the most important pillar of health, above diet and exercise, and therefore essential for anyone intent on improving their wellbeing.