Sleep is important for our overall health. In fact, we need to sleep at least 7 hours a day. However, as we grow up, we take more responsibilities that could affect our sleeping habits. Our jobs can sometimes be demanding that we have to sacrifice our sleeping hours. Parenting is another duty that needs to be 24/7.
At some point, the pressure leaves us restless and unable to sleep even if we are already lying on our bed. Have you experienced this? I do, for countless times and for several years already.
Due to this, many of us have poor sleeping habits and the sad part, we’re not even aware of it. Sleep loss comes as a serious problem, even if we can live with a 4-hour sleep daily. This should not be done regularly because of the unhealthy drawbacks. The next section contains a list of effects that you have to endure due to lack of sleep.
- 1 Why You Should Monitor Your Sleep?
- 2 Side Effects of Lack of Sleep
- 3 Tracking Duration and Quality of Sleep
- 4 Top 5 Best Sleep Trackers
- 5 Using Sleep Trackers and Monitors
Why You Should Monitor Your Sleep?
I understand that it’s easy to sacrifice our sleep when our work and family demand it. However, sleep deprivation may harm us in the process. It’s very important that we provide ourselves with a good rest.
Side Effects of Lack of Sleep
Following are the side effects that you might experience for lack of sleep:
Slows You Down
Lack of sleep affects your cognitive process in several ways. It reduces your attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem and solving skills.
It makes you dull and sluggish. In addition, it makes remembering things more difficult. In short, you become forgetful.
Affects You Mentally and Emotionally
According to Healthline, lack of sleep can also affect us emotionally. It could result in mood swings and short temper. It could also trigger manic depression and increases the risk to impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
May result in a more serious health condition per WebMD. Some of these problems include chronic sleep loss and sleep disorders may lead to serious health conditions. Other ailments include heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. In fact, 90% of people suffering from insomnia also suffers from another health condition.
Speeds Up the Aging Process
If you deprive yourself of enough hours of sleep, you’ll get sallow skin and puffy eyes. However, chronic sleep loss can result in lackluster skin, fine lines and dark circles under the eyes.
Also, your body will release more stress hormone called cortisol, which will break down skin collagen, the protein responsible for keeping your skin smooth and elastic. However, during “deep sleeping” our body produces the tissues to repair the wear and tear that happened during the day.
Kills Your Sex Drive
According to a sleep specialist women and men who lack sleep also experience lower libido and reduced interest in sex. A 2002 study also learned that almost 50 percent of men with sleep apnea have abnormally low testosterone levels at night.
Add Extra Pounds in Your Weight
Lack of sleep is linked to an increase in hunger and appetite which paved the way for obesity. Do you notice yourself binging for more chips or other unhealthy food when you feel sleepy? Also, you tend to make poor food choices when you have your mood swings that you typically feel due to sleep deprivation.
A 2004 study revealed that people who sleep less than 6 hours a day are 30 percent more likely to be obese compared to those who enjoy 7 to 9 hours of sleep. The researchers explained that ghrelin stimulates hunger while leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. Lack of sleep is associated with lower leptin and higher ghrelin. In addition to this, sleep loss stimulates cravings for high–fat and high-carbohydrate foods.
Increases Risk of Death
A 2007 study learned that individuals who cut their sleep from 7 to 5 hours or fewer a night nearly doubled their risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Aside from this, your risk of injury and accidents at home, work, and on the road increases too, according to NHS.
Tracking Duration and Quality of Sleep
It’s nearly impossible to track our quality and duration of sleep because we can’t really identify when we have “light” or “deep” sleep. Thanks to sleeping monitors we can now track and analyze our slumberland.
Just like you, I also struggle with my sleeping patterns but when I learned to track and monitor it through active trackers for sleep it helps me develop a better sleeping habit. Now, I can enjoy a good night sleep and wake up the following day feeling fresh and reinvigorated.
Top 5 Best Sleep Trackers
To cut your research time short, so you can enjoy more bed hours, here’s a list of the best sleep monitors that will surely help you improve your sleeping habits. Check it out and see for yourself, what suits you best.
#1 Withings Aura
This device offers a complete package of a sleeping system because it does not only monitor your sleep but also helps you fall asleep better and wakes you up gently in the morning. Withings is one of the leading brands when it comes to consumer digital health market. They produce a wide range of smart “connected” devices that are very popular with health enthusiasts just like you and I. Their products include activity tracker, bathroom scales, thermometer, blood pressure monitor and sleep monitor in the form of Aura.
It’s a funnel-shaped device standing 11 inches high and is as thick as a couple of paperbacks. It has no buttons because the controls are left on your smartphone. However, it has a touch interface that you need to memorize and get accustomed to. One tap, two taps, and long hold have different associated actions. Also, you need a table near your bed to place it.
Its sleep sensor pad is quite bulky and needs to be placed under your mattress. It uses the ballistocardiography (BCG) to monitor your quality of sleep. BCG considers the bed occupancy, one you occupy it, it tracks your sleep automatically by reading the micro movements due to the blood flow. The device is always on, which is also a disadvantage at some point. If you lay on your bed to watch TV or if your dog or kids use the bed, the device will read it. However, if you only use your bed to sleep, the sensor will pick up more accurate data.
Withings Aura breaks down your sleep metrics in a more detailed set of numbers like heart rate, light sleep, deep sleep, REM, sleep duration, time in bed, time asleep, time awake, time to fall asleep, and a number of awakenings. It also records the room temperature, resting heart rate, noise and more.
However, what makes Aura more appealing to me and perhaps to others who also struggle to enjoy a restful sleep, is its sleep and wake up programs. Sometimes achieving a deep sleep is a struggle.
Have you experienced lying on your bed for hours and you’re still awake that you feel anxious about not getting yourself into dreamland? Aura is here to rescue us.
The ‘go to sleep’ programs that you can control by tapping the device includes a red light and soundtrack that slowly fades away in 20 minutes to send you to dreamland. The red light is selected due to the absence of blue-spectrum light that what keeps us awake. Its music includes crashed waves to ambient. The combination of the light and music is effective in making one relax and drift to sleep.
Aura comes with a “smart alarm clock” and only wakes you up when you’re in a period of “light sleep.” This reduces the groggy effect that you experience when your alarm clock wakes you up while you’re still in “deep sleep.”
However, the bed sensor sometimes makes buzzing noises. It’s also difficult to setup. In addition, there are reported cases of inaccurate data and false readings when you or someone unintentionally occupy the bed but this issue does not matter to some users.
#2 Beddit Smart Sleep Monitor
Beddit Smart is somehow similar to Withings Aura because it’s not wearable and you have to place the sensor in your mattress. However, its sleeping sensor is slimmer and better in terms of design and size. This device is solely designed to monitor your sleep. So, don’t expect it to count your calories or notify you of any email or phone calls. However, you can count on it when it comes to the accurate reading of your quality of sleep.
Beddit Smart is very easy to setup. You just need to place the sensor on the bed sheet. It has an adhesive layer to keep it in place. Then, you’ll plug it in the provided box. After that, you can download the app via Apple’s App Store or Google Play and pair the sensor with your device. You may need to provide personal information and push the sleeping button before you go to sleep.
In the morning, upon waking up you can turn the app off to stop tracking and calculate your Sleep Score, a number up to 100, which summarizes your sleep quality. Giving you a single number to inform you whether you had a good night sleep or not is Beddit’s simple approach to not overwhelm you with too much information. It will also include generic tips to help you improve your sleeping habits. Although helpful, the tips are not related to your sleep quality in the previous night.
The Beddit sensor also measures your heart rate, respiration, and body movement to also determine different sleep modes: awake, light sleep, deep sleep, and restless sleep. Beddit has two modes when reading your stats: manual and automatic. The former is more accurate while the latter is more convenient.
If you’re wondering whether you’re a snorer or not, Beddit Smart is wise enough to check this out for you by using the input in the microphone and the sensor data. It displays your snoring as a series of spikes on your timeline.
One of the benefits of Beddit’s that it’s unnoticeable. You will sleep with less hassle because you need not wear any sensor. Also, there is nothing to charge, which makes the whole experience more favorable for you.
#3 Hello Sense and Sleep Pill System
Sense is another popular and reliable sleep tracker that you’ll surely love. Just like Withings Aura it helps you sleep and wake up at your best. It also delivers accurate data, which will surely be helpful to you, especially if you’re keen in studying and analyzing your sleeping patterns.
The Sense and Sleep Pill is not wearable. It’s composed of a main unit, the Sleep monitor which is a round and lightweight item that you should place in the bedside and a Sleep Pill, a clip-on disc that you have to attach on your pillow. So basically, while the first two sleep monitors have a sleep sensor under your mattress, this places the sensor on your pillow. The clip is difficult to fit but once it’s placed it will not be removed easily even if you move a lot while sleeping.
This device is very smart and is rich with awesome features. For instance, Sense examined your bedroom if it’s conducive for sleeping with its temperature sensor, humidity sensor, and light sensor. It’s also very easy to use. When you’re about to sleep you can just wave your hand over it and the light will turn orange if there are problems in the light, temperature or air quality. You have to check the app to know the exact problem and fix it. However, if everything is okay, the light will turn green and it’s time to sleep.
To help you get to sleep easier, Sense has ambient sound to lullaby you to sleep. You can choose from its huge list of music that includes calming Sleep Sounds like White Noise, Fireside and more. Sense will also help you wake up feeling fresh and renewed. It will monitor your cycle and wakes you up during a “light sleep phase” to help you feel refreshed rather than groggy. Its Smart Alarm also remembers the best time to wake you up every morning but it lacks the snooze mode which other users prefer.
For a more outstanding sleeping experience, Sense includes personalized information to keep you informed about your sleeping environment and pattern, so you can make a better decision and improve your sleeping habits. However, for some, the information is still very limited and the coaching is weak. It does not include REM sleep measurement too.
#4 S+ by ResMed
Sleeping is a very important activity that we should not deprive ourselves of. Unfortunately, it’s the first thing that we sacrifice when things get tough. We reduce our hours of sleep to work overtime and finish the report for our presentation the following day. When we were students there were sleepless nights intended to finishing a project or cramming for an exam. If you feel that you have to make up for yourself, better invest in a great sleep tracker. ResMed S+ is another item that is worth considering.
ResMed is a US company that has been concentrating on sleeping products for decades. So, you can rely on its expertise and experience when it comes to shut-eye smart kits. ResMed S+ has a different design. You don’t wear it on your wrist like FitBit, you don’t clip it on your pillow like Sense or place it under your mattresses like Withings Aura and Beddit. This sleep monitor is the world’s first contactless sleep tracker. Yes, you read it right there is no contact. S+ just watches over you.
Compared to Aura’s design, S+ is better. It’s made of a rectangular prism with a stand and an upper section. You need to place it near you so it can monitor your movements while you sleep. It’s actually easy to set up, only that it takes a trial and error to position it perfectly so it can read your sleeping habits accurately.
Of all the devices previously mentioned, ResMed go the extra miles by working on delivering you more and accurate details. For instance, it includes a daily questionnaire that you need to fill up before you sleep. Among the questions, you’ll need to answer are your caffeine intake, the number of alcoholic drinks you had, if your day was stressful and if you had an exercise.
ResMed S+ will use these variables in relation to your sleep quality. This extra process might appear tedious and are not for those who get bored easily. I understand that the last thing you want to do before you doze is to answer a questionnaire. However, if you’re determined to learn you sleeping pattern, you should not miss out at ResMed S+.
Aside from analyzing y our sleep routine via the factor you provided, this sleep tracker also measures your light sleep, heavy sleep and REM sleep. It’s also equipped with a number of sensors to measure your sleep environment like the light, sound and temperature. It has sleeping sounds to help you sleep and wakes you up during your light sleep so you don’t feel groggy in the morning. If you’re anxious and you can’t sleep when you lay on your bed, which sometimes happens to most of us, then you’ll be delighted with ResMed S+ Mind Clear feature.
This feature allows you to write down or record whatever bothers you. It’s a good channel to release any thought that disrupts you from sleeping. It smart coaching system also helps you correct any mistake on your sleeping habits. For instance, if you’re not getting enough REM, it will help you improve that area well. If you miss a good night sleep, it will also give you tips to catch up on the next night.
The only drawback with this sleep tracker is that it use your phone’s internal speaker, so if your phone is not equipped with high-caliber speakers the sounds might not be too good. Also, the sleep tracking is not automatic and might fail if you move out of range of the sensor.
#5 Basis Peak Review
Per Wearable, Basis Peak is one of the sleeping monitor devices that deliver detailed and accurate data. It monitors your three levels of sleep – deep, light, and REM. It also tracks your time asleep and time restless, and marks every toss and turn you make while you’re sleeping. However, although it’s helpful in monitoring your sleeping pattern, it does not give you tips to take actions on your data.
As mentioned, Basis Peak gives you tons of functionalities. It’s a combination of fitness and smartwatch. Aside from tracking your sleep, it also tracks your steps, calories, heart rate and activities like walking, running and cycling. It uses biofeedback sensors that track your temperature and perspiration levels to determine your calories and overall health accurately. At the same time, it notifies you when you have a phone call, text, email and pre-set alerts. This device also allows you to set goals for your steps, sleep, calories, active minutes and more.
This fitness and smartwatch are waterproof up to 5ATM. You can dive to as deep as 40 meters or 131 feet. It also uses a tough and scratch-resistant display screen that makes it survive the tough environment. You will love this even more because a single charge can last up to a week of usage.
Basis Peak is a jack of all trade because it combines fitness and smartwatch in one but fail to excel in any. For instance, compared to the other sleep trackers, it lacks the wake-up alarm, and sleep program to help you dose. It also misses personalized reports about your sleep quality. It also has some syncing issues.
Using Sleep Trackers and Monitors
Say goodbye to restless nights and improve your quality of sleep by analyzing and improving your sleeping habits. The devices above are designed to help you understand your sleeping pattern and improve it.
This is one of the best health investments that we can give to ourselves. After all, as Thomas Dekker said, “Sleep is that golden chain that ties our health and our bodies together.” So, get yourself one and enjoy a restful sleep in the coming days.