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You’re positive that you’re getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep. Yet, you still wake up feeling tired, groggy, and generally exhausted. If this happens to you, it’s possible that you’re just not getting sufficient restorative sleep to refresh your body and mind. Fortunately, you don’t have to wake up every morning and wonder whether you got enough deep sleep. That’s what a sleep tracker app is for.
A good night’s sleep may be elusive at times, but sleep tracker apps and gadgets promise to make it easier. These apps measure the number of hours you sleep to help you identify trends in your sleep. Sleep trackers monitor external and internal factors that may be affecting your rest to help you regulate your sleep patterns and lock in a good night’s sleep.
Before we dive into some of the best sleep tracker apps, let’s take a look at how it works and why you should consider tracking your sleep.
The best sleep tracker apps can measure the duration and quality of your sleep along with a few other factors, such as how much time you spend in each of the sleep stages. But how do sleep trackers work, exactly? The features might vary depending on the app, but let’s take a look at how sleep trackers monitor your sleep.
Sleep trackers use movement to determine whether you’re asleep. Most sleep tracker apps are equipped with accelerometers, which are small motion detectors.
An accelerometer assumes that you’re asleep if you’re inactive. It also uses movement as the basis for judging the overall quality of your sleep. For instance, if you toss and turn throughout the night, the accelerometer picks up on the movement and uses it to analyze your sleep quality.
Many wearable tracking monitors have built-in heart rate monitors, which is true for sleep tracking devices, as well. When it comes to tracking sleep, information about your heart rate can provide valuable insight into the amount of time you spend in each sleep cycle.
You might already know that your heart rate slows when you fall asleep, but research has shown that it fluctuates as you enter different sleep stages. As you drift off to sleep, your heart rate slows to its resting state and drops even more when you enter deep sleep. Your heart rate picks up again when you enter the sleep phase known as REM sleep, which is when you dream. During REM sleep, your heart rate may vary, depending on the intensity of the dream.
By measuring the changes in your heart rate, sleep tracker apps can help you understand whether you’re getting the sleep you need to function at an optimal level.
Some sleep trackers monitor your environment to assess how external factors, such as noise, temperature, and light, impact your sleep.
One of the most common features of sleep trackers is a built-in microphone that captures sounds that may be interrupting your sleep. The microphone may detect snoring, sleep apnea, and how often you move around during the night.
Some sleep trackers can also track the temperature of your room. If you wake up often in the middle of the night, the sleep tracker might provide data to show that it happens because your room is too warm.
Your own choices can have an impact on the quality of your sleep. Some sleep trackers may ask you to document the things you’ve done during the day to assess how it affects your sleep. This might include your physical activity, food choices, the time you eat, how much coffee or alcohol you drank, smoking habits, and more.
The accuracy of sleep trackers is a hotly contested topic in the scientific community. One of the biggest criticisms of these apps is they primarily rely on movement to decide whether or not you’re asleep. For example, even if you’re lying in bed and reading, some trackers may take your inactivity to mean that you’re sleeping.
Another drawback to tracking sleep is that it might unintentionally contribute to insomnia. Some people who rely on sleep tracker apps may become preoccupied with maximizing their sleep duration and optimizing their results. If you already suffer from sleep anxiety or insomnia, this fixation can hinder your ability to fall asleep and exacerbate your condition.
Although researchers have debated the accuracy of sleep trackers, the Smart Sleep Tracking Device market value is projected to exceed $31 billion by 2026, which means the apps are here to stay. Not only that, but the technology behind these sleep tracker apps is only going to continue to advance year by year.
If you’re on the fence about tracking your sleep, here are some reasons to consider it:
Sleep trackers may be hit-or-miss, but finding the right one could change the game. Here are some of the most popular sleep tracker apps that will monitor your sleep and help you lock in those coveted 8 hours every night.
Even if it’s not your first foray into the world of sleep trackers, you’ve likely heard about Sleep Cycle. It’s one of the most popular apps on the market because it provides useful data about how you sleep. Not only that, but the Sleep Cycle also tracks your sleeping patterns and wakes you up when you’re in the lightest sleep stage so that you feel more rested in the mornings.
The Sleep Cycle app uses its in-built microphone to detect sounds and an accelerometer to monitor your movements as you sleep. The app provides graphs and detailed analyses of your sleep patterns and habits.
Sleep Genius is endorsed by NASA and was developed to help astronauts sleep better in space, where they experience a sunrise or sunset every 45 minutes. Suffice it to say that Sleep Genius is one of the most advanced sleep tracking apps out there.
Sleep Genius doesn’t just track your sleep; it also helps you fall asleep faster. The app uses specialized, scientifically-composed music to lull you to sleep. When it’s time to wake up, the app uses an advanced alarm clock to help you feel refreshed in the mornings.
Sleep Score makes tracking your sleep easy by providing a score based on its analysis of your sleep duration, how long you took to fall asleep, the amount of time you spent in each of the sleep stages, and your wake time.
The premium version of the app allows you to set a goal and offers advice to help you achieve it. You can also keep track of your lifestyle habits and moods, and the app assesses your environment to ensure you have an optimal sleep set-up. Much like other sleep tracker apps, Sleep Score has a smart alarm that increases in volume gradually so that you don’t wake up with a sudden jolt.
Sleep tracker apps can help you assess how well you sleep, but they may not always be effective at helping you get a good night’s rest.
The most important consideration for improving the quality of your sleep is ensuring you have the most comfortable mattress. A hybrid mattress and a memory foam mattress are both excellent choices. Memory foam contours to the body and provides pressure-relieving rest. It also reduces the transfer of motion, making it an ideal choice if you share your mattress with another person and are a light sleeper.
On the other hand, a hybrid mattress might be the best fit for you if you like the traditional feel of a spring mattress but enjoy the contour-adapting capabilities of memory foam. Hybrid mattresses are designed to provide excellent support and stability.
Ultimately, sleep tracker apps can only be effective if you have the best sleep setup in place. To enjoy a great night’s sleep, it’s essential to invest in high-quality bedding that’ll stand the test of time and provide long-term benefits.
Do your Sleep Tracker Apps help you snooze better? Share below in the comments!
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Disclaimer. We love sleep and we want you to get the best sleep possible. But we do not provide medical advice. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical info, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our blog.