The Sad Truth About Sleep-Tracking Devices and Apps


For some sensible tips about get extra shuteye, I sought out Raphael Vallat, a postdoctoral researcher on the Center for Human Sleep Science on the University of California, Berkeley. His most vital recommendation: Do not verify your sleep knowledge regularly.

“If you look at your data, it can modify the perception of your sleep,” he mentioned. “You may think, Oh gosh, I didn’t sleep well. Should I be tired? Am I in a bad mood?”

Here’s what I discovered after two weeks of sleep monitoring.

To perceive sleep-tracking knowledge, I delved into how sleep works. There are three foremost levels: Light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep (for speedy eye motion).

The deep sleep stage is helpful for bodily restoration, like muscle reparation and metabolism restoration, researchers mentioned. REM sleep, the stage wherein we dream, helps in repairing our psychological and emotional networks.

On common, an individual completes a sleep cycle, which incorporates every of the three foremost levels, each 90 minutes. To get evening’s sleep, it’s good to full 4 to 5 cycles. That’s partly as a result of the cycles usually are not the identical all through the evening: The early cycles have extra deep sleep, whereas the later ones have extra REM sleep.

But our sleep-tracking tech? It usually can’t precisely measure REM sleep.

In sleep-tracking labs, the gold-standard scientific tools sometimes consists of sensors which might be linked to somebody’s face and neck to measure eye and mind exercise, amongst different variables.

But sleep-tracking apps for wearable gadgets just like the Apple Watch or Fitbit primarily take a look at motion and coronary heart price to find out if you find yourself asleep or awake — that are usually not exact sufficient to measure the totally different sleep levels, Dr. Vallat mentioned. Without take a look at REM sleep, these apps might give an incomplete image of sleep high quality.



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