World Sleep Day 2016 is here and for those who are not familiar with the commemorative day, it is an annual event organised by the World Sleep Day Committee of the World Association of Sleep Medicine (WASM) since 2008 to celebrate the benefits of good and healthy sleep. WASM believes that more attention needs to be given to sleep and its related problems, their medicine, education and social aspects to prevent sleep disorders and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Why should I be sleeping well?
With the advent of round the clock social media habits, binge watching marathons and the usual insomniac traits, losing out on sleep can actually be very harmful for health. A recent report by the Centres for Disease and Control in US called sleep problems a public health epidemic. It is not just about the hours of sleep but the quality of sleep that matters too.
Thankfully, sleep tracking technology can provide some insight into how many hours of sleep one is missing out on, how long it takes to fall asleep, and whether one is a restless or quiet sleeper etc. IBTimes UK thus brings for you some of the best sleep trackers available in the market and how they help you keep a tab on your sleeping patterns:
The Mi Band starts tracking your sleeping pattern from the time you get into bed, light sleep, sleep, and deep sleep until you wake up. Your body will have different types of movements across these different phases of sleep. The device will then calculate and record your actual sleeping time based on these various movements.
There are six criteria that the Mi Band uses to measure sleep, and when these criteria are fulfilled, the Mi Band determines that you have gone to sleep. Body movements can be used to detect when a user is in deep sleep.
Shine is an apt name for this product as it really shines in the sleep department. It monitors deep versus light sleep, REM cycles, total time asleep, and much more. It automatically knows when you nod off for the night, so you do not have any mode-adjusting to do. Plus, it's a really well rounded tracker that can be worn on your neck as well, apart from the wrist.
The FitBit Charge does not track deep sleep versus light sleep and cannot differentiate between sleep stages like other sleep trackers. It instead focuses on detecting periods of disturbed sleep or wakefulness during the night. It also monitors how long you are in bed, how many times you wake up, and offers two separate sleep modes: a normal one plus a sensitive one for individuals who feel like they have some sleep issues. Plus it has a silent alarm that gently vibrates to wake you up.
Jawbone UP 24
There's no LED screen on this one like some of the other high-end trackers but even then this is one of the best sleep trackers in the market specially for the price. It tracks the length and quality of your sleep, including how many times you wake up, how long you spend in deep sleep, and how long you're in bed counting sheep before you finally nod off.
For waking up, there's a silent alarm in the form of a soft buzz on the wrist that wakes you without startling you. You do need to remember to switch the Up24 to sleep mode before turning in for the night.
Pebble Health has been available since December 2015 for Pebble watches that can measure step, distance, time spent active and sleep tracking. It tracks your daily activity and automatically detects when you're asleep.
The tracking is integrated with the UI, making daily stats and insights instantly available in the Timeline. Instead of giving ideal sleep scores Pebble Health will measure your performance against your own average.
Sense sleep tracker by Hello
If you are tired of wrist-based tracking devices then you must try Sense. The Sense sleep tracker consists of a small device that sits next to a person's bedside and a small "Sleep Pill" that sits inside a pillowcase.
It tracks a number of data points, such as noise, air particulates and lighting, and then provides more in-depth data about a person's sleep quality. Sense also provides consumers with a score of how well they slept, giving them ways to think about improving their sleep quality.
Beddit Smart 2.0 Sleep Monitor
Like Sense, the Beddit Sleep Monitor is also designed to fill any data gap for accurately measuring key sleep-related data without the need for you to wear a sensor. It consists of a very thin, plastic sensor strip with a hardware dongle hanging off the end of it. One side of the strip is covered with adhesive that you need to position on your mattress at chest level, with the hardware hanging a few inches down. The sensor strip then needs to be covered with a sheet and you won't even know it's there. Pair the Beddit with your iPhone, iPad or Android device and it's ready to give you the most accurate readings of your sleep patterns.
French company Withings has developed the Aura that is a true dedicated sleep analyser that takes you from lights out to sun up. It consists of two pieces: a bedside base plus a mattress pad sleep sensor.
It emits soft light and soothing sounds. Once you're out, it tracks your heart rate, respiratory rate, movement, and even bed temperature. That last detail is important for understanding how different factors influence your quality of sleep.
The RestOn is another non-wearable sleep tracker that looks like a wide belt with a plastic buckle at one end. The buckle is the sleep monitoring device, while the belt is the series of sensors used to track sleep.
It needs to be synced to the Sleepace app that is very well designed as it uses a simple, clean graphical interface to relay details about your sleep that are easy to understand. It also produces charts that display breaths per minute, sleep (light to deep), heart rate, instances of apnea (when you temporarily stop breathing), pulse, number of times you've moved, and an overall sleep quality score.
The Polar A300 has increased in popularity with the inclusion of a heart rate monitor. This helps it provide interesting and motivating insights into your activity levels, while providing an extra level of accuracy of sleep tracking.
It does not attempt to provide details of your sleep stages, but does split your sleep into restful and restless. This gives a helpful insight into how much sleep you're really getting.