Home Technology The right kind of data from wearable gadgets could help you sleep better

The right kind of data from wearable gadgets could help you sleep better

by TodayDigitNews@gmail.com
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Some Gadgets Throw A Lot Of Sleep-Related Numbers, But Not All Are Equally Helpful

(Barbara Maragoli for The Washington Post)

After one night, I received some bad news from the chunky fitness watch I’ve been wearing for months. It took him only 5 minutes of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

The rest of the numbers didn’t look very good. 24 minutes of “deep” sleep. Nearly 6 hours of light sleep. Staying awake for over an hour and a half, averaging about 15 breaths per minute.

Sure, that’s a lot of information. And that explains, at least in part, why I spent the next morning in a mental fog. It may not have been as useful as I thought.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who routinely get less than seven hours of sleep per night are more likely to report medical conditions such as: heart disease, diabetes, depression. On the other hand, according to recent research, Galway University In Ireland, it has been suggested that people with recurrent sleep disorders are more likely to have a stroke in their lifetime.

So it’s no wonder we’re seeing wearable gadgets. about 20 percent American Adult Counts — spewing out sleep-related numbers that help us make sense of time away from consciousness. These numbers may be presented without context and may be difficult to understand their actual value. And other numbers, such as time spent in restorative “deep” sleep, are in some ways just educated guesses.

This is because no matter how sophisticated some of these wearables become, they can’t measure exactly what our brains are doing. By tracking and interpreting the kinds of data a watch or ring can collect, such as movement, it does its best to estimate where you are on your nighttime sleep journey.

“These are substitutes for sleep, not sleep as traditionally defined,” says Kathy Goldstein, a sleep researcher and associate professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to use wearable technology to better understand how you sleep. trick? Pay attention to the right kind of data. To help you out, here’s a guide to sleep-related numbers that wearable tech can spit out, and just how seriously you should take them.

Tracking this without a smartwatch or fancy ring is easy in theory. Record your bedtime and wake-up time and do a little math. But where wearables are really useful is in getting a complete picture of your time in bed.

Joshua Hagen, Director of Human Performance Collaborative, said: Ohio State University.

Ideally, you should aim for seven to nine hours of actual sleep per night, he says. If, like many of us, you haven’t hit that watermark, seeing those numbers spelled out on your smartphone can help you recognize that you need to modify your sleep habits. .

“It’s like tracking calories,” says Goldstein. “It doesn’t change anything, but it makes you aware of the problem.”

verdict: This is the most useful number to pay attention to.

time in different sleep stages

“What the patient is careful not to get upset about is the specific amount of time spent in REM or deep sleep,” says Goldstein.

When experts conduct research to accurately investigate a person’s sleep quality, they rely on sensors that directly monitor brain activity, eye movements, jaw and leg muscle movements, and more, she said. says. Only after the researchers have collected all these measurements throughout the night will they go back and determine, for example, how long they spent in each sleep stage.

On the other hand, the most popular commercial wearable gadgets track only a fraction of these signals. And nothing can infer what’s going on in your brain more accurately than the electrodes that are placed on your scalp during sleep studies.

“These are states defined by brain wave structure,” she said, referring to how stages of sleep appear in brain wave measurements. “We can’t just hope [wearables] measuring the same thing. “

Plus, you might read some of these sleep stage numbers a bit too far. , “We don’t really know the relevance of the change.”

Beyond that, Ohio State University’s Hagen says there isn’t much definitive information on how to increase deep sleep, so it’s not worth emphasizing that number.

“There’s not much you can do about it,” he said. “Your body is trying to get what it needs.”

verdict: Think of these numbers as a grain of salt.

If your heart rate is 60 beats per minute, it’s not exactly once per second. There are microscale variations between these. love and dubThese small deviations collectively make up heart rate variability, which Hagen sees as an “overall stress index” measured in milliseconds. Paradoxically, the higher the HRV, the better.

“If you’re under extreme emotional stress, it’s very likely that you have less heart rate variability,” he said. If you’re relaxed and your life is going well, you’re likely to have a higher HRV than normal.”

The data on small fluctuations in the heart sounds rather esoteric. However, according to Goldstein of the University of Michigan, the numbers can help us understand how some of the things we do in our daily lives affect the quality of our rest.

“Drinking and eating certain foods can cause changes in heart rate variability,” she said.

HRV declines at night may help you think about habits and habits that you should quit during the day. Also, checking your HRV during the day will give you a clearer picture of how restful (or not) you were last night.

verdict: You may not need to watch it all the time, but it can be enlightening.

Wearables such as smartwatches and rings are surprisingly good at measuring breathing. But do most people really need to know how many breaths they take each minute while they sleep?

It depends on how much context you have.

“For the average consumer, looking at their daily breathing rate probably doesn’t tell them much,” says Hagen. But looking at this number and its changes over time can provide important insights into sleep quality.

Most people tend to breathe between 12 and 20 breaths per minute during sleep, and changes in that breathing rate can indicate a serious problem. (For example, consistently low breaths per minute during sleep could be a sign of sleep apnea.) Keep an eye open for any deviations you make – whatever they are.

“Every person’s number will be unique to them,” he said. “The more you understand, the more actionable your data will be.”

verdict: It’s worth taking the time to look at this, but comparing it to others may not help.

Keeping an eye on good sleep stats can help you understand how you do in the morning, but not all wearables are created equal. Here’s a gadget I personally use these days to do that.

Have a sleep-specific wearable you’d like to try? Send a message to the help desk.

General Purpose Wearable: Apple Watch

If you’re one of the many people who use an iPhone, your Apple Watch can immediately start giving you sleep data that you may find useful.

Of all the models the company sells, the Apple Watch Ultra offers by far the best battery life. Thankfully, you don’t need the latest or most expensive model. Even older models faithfully track sleep duration and heart rate variability.

What is my biggest complaint? Apple’s Health app is pretty good at putting some of its sleep data in context, but to see all the stats we’ve discussed so far, you’ll have to navigate between the various sections of the app. It is necessary and can be a bit of a hassle.

A More Subtle Option: Oura Ring Gen 3

We got some of the most immediately useful sleep insights from our latest Oura ring ($299 plus $5.99 monthly subscription). This packs an array of sensors into a classy ring design. That said, it’s a little chunkier than many other rings I’ve worn over the years.

Its companion app is one of the best I’ve seen in terms of displaying the data it retrieves, and I really enjoy that the ring itself is unobtrusive, but for using the gadget I’ve already used Not everyone likes the idea of ​​paying monthly. Even if the first 6 months of service are free, it will cost you hundreds of dollars.

Another discreet option: WHOOP 4.0

Many readers wrote to the helpdesk asking to try WHOOP, a no-nonsense fitness band meant to be worn around the wrist or arm. I’m glad they did – it takes a fascinating approach to tracking your movements and focuses on measuring how much strain you put on your body and how well you recover from it. .

Its sleep-tracking tools offer many of the same measurements as other devices, but the WHOOP app points out certain types of data in greater detail, such as how many times you wake up. It also suggests a sleep goal for the night based on your physical activity during the day.

That said, the WHOOP experience takes some getting used to. One is to pay a monthly fee for continued access to the service and get the wearable “for free” instead of buying the band right away. And unlike other devices that plug in and charge normally, when you need to refuel, you’ll need to charge a separate “backpack” battery that attaches to the WHOOP band.

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