Health Tip: Sleep Tracking

Welcome to another segment on Active Authorities! As our goal is to push quality content to you guys on a consistent basis, we have come up with one more segment to write on called “Health Tips”. The gist of it is that we will come up with some small tips you can do for your overall health and well-being that you can apply to your daily lives without too much commitment, like using massage sticks to deal with muscle soreness. It is just one more way we are trying to help you on your journey to a more active physical and mental lifestyle.

One of the things I have been keeping log of is my sleeping habits. This is because of a couple reasons:

  1. My previous job (I am now retired) required me to get up early in the morning to clock in for work. I had trouble sleeping then, so I looked into sleep tracking to help improve my sleeping cycles. That eventually led to better sleep and my ability to wake up early in the morning without much hassle.
  2. I found that every so often, I would wake up in the middle of the night for no reason at all. Not because of bad dreams, being fully rested, the need to use the restroom, etc. I just woke up seemingly without any reason. So I would use a sleep tracking device to get better analysis of my sleep, which led to more accurate descriptions to tell my doctor.

Your reasons to start sleep tracking can be, and probably most likely will be, much different than my reasons. The point is that keeping track of your sleep can be incredibly beneficial for your overall well-being. Here are a few of the reasons I have listed.

Why to track your sleep:Example of sleep data from tracking

Wake up smoothly and according to your body’s responses

There is this sleep tracking app on Android called Sleep as Android that does a whole virtue of things for you. One of those is called “Smart Wakeup”. This feature lets you put in a time you want to wake up and then a smart-tracking wakeup period (20 minutes, for example). It then tracks your sleeping cycles and wakes you up anywhere in that 20 minutes when your body is in the mode of light sleeping. This is supposed to make it easier for you to wake up, as opposed to traditional alarms where it can possibly wake you up during a deep sleep cycle, causing a grumpy mood and overall rough transition from sleep to awake.

Analyze and optimize your sleeping habits

Sticking to the Android app, since that is the one I use if I want to track via my smartphone, you also get a bunch of data on your sleep. Stats such as how much time you slept over the course of the week compared to others that used the app, how well you thought you slept through the use of sleep rating, and how many sleep cycles you go through on a nightly basis all are part of the app. The most useful part of this for me is how the app can analyze this data and give you tips on when you should go to bed each night to meet your goal of waking up at a certain time.

It is easier than ever

Not only are there several apps for Android,  but there are also a ton of good ones for the iPhone as well. I don’t own an iOS device, so it wouldn’t be proper for me to recommend one, but there are dozens of free apps out there that work just as well. Just look for apps with sleep tracking features and smart wake-up alarms.

I am also sure you have heard of the activity trackers going around today. Technology truly is amazing: you can track your sleep via a computerized bracelet or smartwatch and it will give you even more advanced data since it is tracking your heartbeat as well. I personally have the Fitbit Charge 2, which shows me my heart rate for cardio activities but also syncs with my phone to give me sleep data.

Better sleep

I have found that my sleep is much better with tracking than it was without. I would often wake up in the middle of the night for no good reason at all, but since I’ve changed what time I go to bed and followed some of the tips I found researching online, my sleep has rarely been disturbed. There are also a multitude of apps that have lullabies built-in to them, capable of playing sounds that help you go to bed. These sounds include calming ones such as waterfalls or fire pits, or even white noise to help you drown out everything on your mind and just focus on going to sleep. These definitely help in nights where I cannot go to bed even when I desperately needed to for work in the morning.

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