Our sleep patterns are something that concern almost all of us. Are we getting enough sleep, are we sleeping at the right time, and what do our dreams mean are all questions that we’ve asked at one point or another. When you consider that the average person sleeps for around 8 hours a day, or almost 230,000 hours over the course of their lifetime, it’s no wonder that we’re so interested init.

With technology constantly evolving and serving every possible niche, it’s no surprise that dedicated sleep tracking devices or applications for our smartphones have caught the public’s imagination. Could monitoring your sleep patterns really improve your health in the long-run though? Here’s what you need to know.

How Does It Work

Traditionally, sleep research involved being fitted with lots of different wires that measured everything from the movement of your eyes and legs to your heartbeat and respiratory patterns. However, the main flaw with this was that it required the individual to leave their home and be tested in a lab environment which, as you might imagine, also increased their stress levels and affected the authenticity of the study.

Nowadays, the approach that we see from companies like these making sleep-tracking smartphone apps and wearables is comparatively simple. Rather than measure every possible variable, we instead focus on one aspect, movement, tracked by an accelerometer. These are both small and cheap to produce, so anyone can wear them in their own home. Despite missing out on other useful data, the fact that we can study someone in their natural surroundings means that, for now, this approach may be the best option.

What Are the Benefits

According to both experts and the manufacturers of these products, these kinds of trackers are no substitute for actual medical advice or lab testing for people who have serious sleep problems. Similarly, a number of experts feel that body movement alone does not provide enough information to provide meaningful data. However, that is not to say that sleep trackers have no merit at all.

While most of us are familiar with the idea that we need 8 hours of sleep a day, according to the Sleep Council the average Brit gets just six-and-a-half hours each night. If sleep trackers can help people make a conscious effort to create regular sleeping patterns, this would be an improvement on people’s general health. Almost all experts agree that keeping to a regular schedule is the best way to avoid feeling groggy in the morning.

Do you have any experience using these kinds of trackers? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

 

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