Sleep tracker – What is a sleep tracker?
Sleep tracker is a device that monitors your sleep, the device record your total hours slept and analyze your patterns over time. In simple terms, sleep tracker allows you to measure the duration of your sleep as well as the quality of your sleep. Trackers sync your sleep data at an app on either smartphone or tablet. A sleep tracker app interprets the sleep data and translates it into meaningful insights. Most sleep trackers have personalized recommendations for improving your sleep.
How does these devices work?
You might wonder how these devices or app work really? And if they are accurate at all and what kinds of technology are these sleep devices relying on that allows them to make such claims. However, the accuracy of a sleep tracker still is a hot debate among the scientific community. Nevertheless, many agree their ability to distinguish among various stages of sleep is dubious, they can actually tell whether you are asleep or awake.
Understanding how it works
To better understand what sleep tracker does, it is better to break down what they track before we move on to how they track.
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In their most basic form, sleep track whether you are asleep or awake, and how much time you spend sleeping. Like so;
- The amount of time you spend sleeping – the sleep tracker analyzes whether you are asleep or awake and chart the total amount of time you spend sleeping.
- Quality of your sleep – Sleep trackers will analyze any movement during your sleep, to assess whether your sleep is restless or restful.
- How much time you spend in each sleep – Some sleep trackers claim to track how much time you spend in each stage of sleep. This information is used to schedule your alarm go off at a time when you’re likely to be in light sleep, making it easier for you to wake up.
- Sleep environment – Sleep tracker may analyze other factors that can impact the quality of your sleep, such as light and temperature of your bedroom.
- Sleep-related health metrics – Did you know that much of what you do during the day can impact the quality of your sleep? Well, it does, things such as diet and exercise. Some sleep trackers may track your activities such as physical fitness, heart rate, food consumption, and also your stress levels. Sleep trackers analyze how your daily life may be affecting your sleep.
Sleep tracker when you are asleep, how does it work?
The main way trackers know when you are asleep is through your body movements. While we generally switch positions while we sleep and may twitch some during our dreams, we are generally a whole lot more still when we are asleep than we are awake. This makes body movement a useful indicator for measuring your sleep vs. awake status and your overall time asleep.
Type of sleep trackers
Depending on the type of tracker you have, it will measure your body movement through either actigraphy or accelerometry. Most wearable sleep trackers leverage actigraphy, where an actigraphy sensor is worn around your wrist. Many Smartphone sleeps tracking apps, on the other hand, rely on the phone’s accelerometer to measure, your body movement and assess whether you are asleep or awake.
Sleep trackers – may include microphone to capture noise
These devices may include a microphone to capture noise from the room or your body. The lack of or presence of noise can help the device determine whether you are asleep, and provide insight into the quality of your sleep.
The microphone may measure your respiration, in order to detect any snoring. Snoring can interfere with the quality of your sleep. Some sleep trackers will even record your snoring so you can assess whether it was snoring, or whether you are making gasps or choking sounds that me indicative of a more serious sleep disorder like sleep apnea.
Other features that may be useful
Sleep devices are beginning to include more methods of measurements, such as Philips Smartsleep Deep Sleep headband. This device is worn over your head while you sleep, the headband includes sensors to detect when you are in deep sleep. Philips Smartsleep Deep Sleep headband includes headphones that emit noise to help you improve your sleep.
Sleep tracker – what types of sleep trackers are there available?
The different types of sleep trackers
- Wearable devices – these are devices that you wear either on your wrist, head or a pendant you wear around your neck.
- Non-wearable devices –these are devices that are non-contact with you, however, trace your sleep patterns, duration of your sleep and the quality of your sleep.
- Mattresses – these types of sleep tracker measures body movement, heart rate, and noise.