How Tracking Your Sleep Can Help Improve Your Bedtime Routine
Sleep… we all want more of it and yet we just can’t get enough of it. Sleep is one of the most important factors to our health. It helps our body and mind recover after a long day and primes us for the next. Studies have shown that those who sleep too little are often obese, inactive, or more likely to report chronic health conditions (Short Sleep Duration Among US Adults). Improving sleep can lead to an overall improvement in health and well-being.
Using a Fitness Tracker to Monitor Sleep
Fitness wearables are improving rapidly each year to help us closely monitor the length and quality of our sleep. WHOOP and Oura Ring measure your resting heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV), “sleep hygiene” (time in bed vs time spent sleeping), length of sleep, and optimal rest/wake times. Both report on the different sleep stages and how long you spend in each. You can even see if you had any disturbances in your sleep cycle and the times they occurred.
Personally, I love knowing how much time I’m spending in light, REM, and deep sleep. This shows the quality of the sleep I’m getting rather than just the length. After all, 8 hours of sleep is no good if 80% of it was light sleep. WHOOP even gives you messages like, “23.2% of your time asleep was spent in deep sleep. This is an optimal amount for healthy adults”. Or, when your recovery the day before may not have been the best, you could get a message like, “More than 50% of your sleep was spent in REM and deep sleep stages. Your body might be making up for not getting enough restorative sleep recently”.
Journal to Track Your Nightly Habits
Using these powerful devices can help you keep track of all different types of sleep-related statistics that give an idea of how well or poorly your body is recovering each night. They allow you to track certain habits you are performing or not performing each night and reflect on how these affect your sleep score.
For example, did you watch TV last night or read in bed? Did you wear your blue-light-blocking glasses? Did you take a magnesium supplement before bed? Were you sleeping in bed alone or with someone else? What was the temperature in your house? And if you think I’m crazy, all of these tings affect your sleep in drastic ways! By journalling all of these habits you can start to see patterns of which habits lead to really good sleep and which cause your sleep to suffer.
Luckily, WHOOP has a journal feature that helps you easily keep track of all these different factors. You can choose from pre-selected questions or choose to write freehandedly, making your thoughts super easy to track.
Find the Patterns and Make the Changes
After a few weeks or months you will start to notice patterns between the nights that you got awesome sleep and the nights where your sleep was poor. You may find that any alcoholic drinks means an automatically low sleep score because your body is processing that alcohol all night. You may find that your sleep is the best when you meditate for 10 minutes beforehand.
Discovering these habits that can make or break such an important aspect of our health is key. Find the wearable that works best for you and use it to improve your overall health. Change up your nighttime routine and see how your body reacts. Luckily, it’s 2021 and modern technology has made all of this super easy to do so.
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