How Sleep Trackers Improve Health And Fitness
In a holistic health and fitness program you need a combination of diet, exercise and recovery.
Of these, recovery is most often compromised because many live a hectic lifestyle.
Doctors prescribe that you should get at least 8 hours of quality sleep.
In Australia, a 2015 study by the Sleep Health Foundation showed that the mean average for quality of sleep was only 6 hours.
Dangers Of Lack Of Sleep
Insufficient sleep can lead to a host of health risks such as:
• Poor Cognition
• Type 2 Diabetes
• Heart Problems
• High Blood Pressure
• Weight Gain
Tracking your sleep patterns can help you reduce your risks of acquiring these conditions and illnesses.
How Sleep Trackers Work
Sleep tracking is a standard feature in many of the popular fitness wearables. Basically, a fitness wearable includes an accelerometer which is a motion detector.
The theory behind its sleep tracking feature is rather simplistic. Movement implies the person is awake while prolonged lack of movement means the person is asleep.
This process is called actigraphy and has been in practice over decades. Sleep specialists use actigraphy to track general patterns in sleeping.
Interpreting The Data
When you sleep with your tracker, it can record data on your quality of sleep.
The following day, you can get a detailed report on the following:
• Time it took to fall asleep when the lights went out or sleep latency;
• Percentage of time spent in REM;
• Percentage of time in transitional sleep;
• Percentage of time in light sleep;
• Percentage of time in deep sleep.
The data provided by your sleep tracker will give you important insights on your sleep quality and provide clues on your general mood, performance or level of productivity for the past few days.
For example, REM is the stage where signals are sent to the brain’s cerebral cortex. This is the area of the brain which is responsible for learning, thinking and organising information.
On the other hand, deep sleep is the stage where Human Growth Hormone or HGH is released. HGH is necessary to speed up recovery from intense exercise and to build up muscle.
If deep sleep becomes interrupted not only will you wake up sluggish but the release of HGH will likewise be cut short. This could explain poor performance in physical activity.
Using a fitness wearable is important not just to track your workouts and your diet but also your quality of sleep.
It may just be the case that the most overlooked component of a health and fitness program is also its most important.