Are you getting enough sleep? It’s a question many people ask themselves. It’s long been suggested that 8 hours’ sleep is crucial to a person’s wellbeing. However, various studies have been carried out which actually suggest we all need different levels of sleep. Some can get by on as little as a few hours, while others feel after 8 hours sleep they don’t feel refreshed. So how exactly can you determine whether you’re getting a healthy amount when the advice you’re presented with is contradictory? Well, sleep tracking could be the answer.
Sleep tracking apps – Are they accurate?
Many experts argue that sleep tracking apps cannot provide an accurate reading of how well you sleep. However, they are certainly the next best thing to actually going into a lab and getting hooked up to various sensors. They at least give you some idea of how long you are sleeping. You can find sleep tracking apps on your smartphone, or they come installed in wearable technology such as the FitBit. Some are completely free to use, but for more accurate results and more detailed reports, it is worth paying for the more advanced apps.
Using a sleep diary
Ok, so you might be wondering how on earth you can keep a diary when you’re asleep. Obviously you’re not going to be making entries while you’re unconscious! However, tracking your sleep by making entries in the mornings when you wake up and at night before you go to sleep can be extremely beneficial.
A sleep diary can give you insights into how your routine affects your sleep. At nighttime, you can make a short entry about what you did that day in terms of exercise, stress and how much energy you had. Then in the morning you can write another entry highlighting whether you feel refreshed, if you woke up at any point and how long it took you to fall asleep. You could also jot down whether you did anything before bed such as browsed on your phone or whether you simply laid there thinking about your day.
Even after just a week, you’ll start to see some kind of pattern and identify factors that could be affecting your level and quality of sleep. It’s effective and takes less than a few minutes each day.
Overall tracking your sleep can really help you discover whether you’re getting enough. It also helps you to identify any changes you may need to make to improve your sleep. If you aren’t getting enough it can have a negative impact on every aspect of your life. So, why not take advantage of the tips above and start getting the sleep your body needs to stay happy and healthy?