Getting sufficient sleep is one of the most important things people can do for their overall health and happiness. Those who have no issue catching enough z's don't realize how frustrating and draining it can be to continuously have restless nights. For those who have trouble sleeping or remaining asleep know how hard it can be to find a solution. Fortunately, the technology surrounding the field of sleep research is advancing at an exciting rate.
In the past, the only way to track sleep was through the use of brain wave scanners. This required the individual to sleep with their head inside of a giant machine that would measure the different frequencies and brain waves that were active during the different stages of sleep. With the advent of sleep trackers, more and more people are resorting to these more convenient and cheaper methods of monitoring sleeping patterns.
In the form of smart phone apps and wrist bands, these sleep trackers provide an easier tool for people to learn more about how they sleep at night. The type of information and data gathered by these Sleep Trackers can help to identify some possible problems affecting sleep as well as shedding light on other health problems.
Functionality and Reliability
As opposed to giant scanners to measure brain waves, sleep trackers utilize accelerometers to measure movement through what is known as actigraphy. According to NoSleeplessNights.com, this technology has been used for over 30 years by sleep clinicians. This technology however hasn't been available to the average person until the recent trend in wearable sleep trackers. Essentially, the different movements measured during an individual's sleep correspond to different stages of sleep. These patterns of movement are measured and recorded within the sleep trackers. According to a study conducted by Jennifer L. Martin, PhD and Alex D. Hakim, MD on the reliability and accuracy of sleep trackers, it was found that these watches "can provide useful information about sleep in the natural sleep environment and/or when extended monitoring is clinically indicated". It was also mentioned that these trackers should not be used to replace sleep clinics but simply as a supplement or easier alternative.