Nowadays, activity trackers are popular among individuals who want to live a healthier lifestyle. In addition to monitoring how many calories you burn each day, activity trackers keep track of how many steps you take and what your heart rate is. In addition to these measurements, some activity trackers can also monitor your sleep patterns.

Sleep is an important aspect of overall wellness, and people who get between 7-9 hours of uninterrupted, high-quality sleep each night exhibit higher levels of learning, memory and metabolism function throughout the day.

How Activity Trackers Monitor Sleep

While each activity tracker is different, many monitor and interpret your sleep habits by measuring how many hours you spend asleep each night, how many times you wake up during the night, and how long you spend in each sleep stage. Some activity trackers measure the REM sleep stage and compare it to the time spent in other stages of sleep. REM stands for “rapid eye movement” and refers to the period of sleep during which humans dream and display increased brain activity.

Activity trackers are able to monitor sleep stages due to the presence of built-in sensors known as accelerometers, which are designed to detect the type, action, and direction of a user’s movement.

How Activity Trackers Can Help You Sleep Better

The American Psychological Association (APA) has found that tracking goals and patterns helps promote lasting change in areas such as sleep and activity. Because activity trackers allow you to self-monitor and track your sleep, they can help you recognize and address weak spots in your sleep habits and improve the quality and duration of your sleep patterns.

By making you more aware of your actual sleep patterns, an activity tracker can help you improve your sleep in the areas that need it. For example, if you discover that you’re only sleeping six hours each night, you will be able to go to sleep earlier in order to get a full seven to nine hours of sleep each night. If an activity tracker helps you discover that your sleep is interrupted by periods of wakefulness, you will be able to make changes like darkening your room or removing distractions like blinking lights, television sets, or ticking clocks in order to achieve more restful sleep.

In addition to encouraging you to move more throughout the day, activity trackers can help ensure that you get higher quality sleep at night by giving you the tools to evaluate your sleep, recognize areas of weakness and make needed improvements.

Sources:

http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/benefits-of-sleep

https://sleep.org/articles/what-your-sleep-tracker-is-telling-you/

http://www.digitaltrends.com/wearables/whats-inside-fitness-tracker-anyway/

http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/lifestyle-changes.aspx

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-better.htm

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/sleep/art-20048379