Mayo Clinic: I wear a fitness device that tracks my sleep. It
shows that most of my sleep is light sleep and that I rarely
am in deep sleep. Is this kind of sleep tracker reliable? If
so, is there a way I can get better sleep? I sleep about six
or seven hours each night.
it comes to identifying the difference between light sleep and
deep sleep, research has shown that fitness trackers are not
accurate. Rather than relying on your device to measure how
well you sleep, consider basing your assessment of sleep
quality on how you feel when you wake up. If you donít feel
well-rested, and itís affecting your daily life, that might
prompt a change in your habits or possibly a sleep evaluation.
fitness trackers and apps that claim to measure sleep have
become quite popular. Typically, they display information
about sleep and wake time. Some offer assessment of light
sleep versus deep sleep, as well as how often you wake up
during the night and how long you stay awake. The
manufacturers donít share details about the technology these
devices use to gather the information, but it appears that
most rely on motion detection.
evaluate the usefulness of wearable trackers and apps, more
than 20 research studies have examined the accuracy and
validity of the sleep information they generate. The results
show that, when compared to polysomnography ó considered by
sleep medicine specialists to be the gold standard of sleep
tests ó the devices are largely inaccurate. Their accuracy
particularly deteriorates for people who wake up often during
addition to being unreliable in distinguishing between
different sleep stages, the sleep trackers and apps are
inexact in their ability to measure the time it takes to fall
asleep, overall sleep efficiency and total sleep time. The
general problem is that, although the devices are fair to good
at detecting when youíre asleep, they are poor at
determining when you are awake during the night.
way to tell if youíre getting the sleep you need is to
consider how you feel throughout the day. You mention that you
usually get six or seven hours of sleep. Based on existing
sleep research, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine
recommends healthy adults consistently get at least seven
hours of sleep a night. If you wake in the morning feeling
well-rested and able to function throughout the day, thereís
probably no need to be concerned.
however, you have any of these symptoms, consider seeking
medical evaluation: significant difficulty falling asleep or
staying asleep; frequent loud snoring; waking up with a
gasping or choking sensation; breathing pauses in sleep;
frequently waking up; waking in the morning after a full nightís
sleep not feeling refreshed or with a headache; or often
feeling sleepy during the day.
changes can improve your sleep. Try to maintain a consistent
sleep-wake schedule, and make sleep a priority. But donít
spend more than about eight hours in bed per day. Avoid
caffeine after noon, and limit it to one or two servings.
Exercise during the day, but try to do so at least six hours
before you go to bed.
time to wind down before bed, and establish a daily bedtime
routine. Use the bedroom only for sleep and sex. Avoid excess
alcohol use and heavy meals before bedtime. Remove electronics
from your bedroom, and avoid looking at the clock. When you go
to bed, wear comfortable clothing, and keep your surroundings
dark, cool and quiet. If you canít fall asleep, get out of
bed and do a boring activity until you become drowsy.
feel persistently sleepy, despite good sleep habits, or if you
have other symptoms of sleep problems, make an appointment to
see your health care provider. He or she can evaluate your
situation and help you decide if a consultation with a sleep
specialist may be useful.