Confession: I'm that annoying person who is always talking about how little sleep I get. I have a horrible habit of staying up late either to do work, go out, or just aimlessly watch Netflix until 2 a.m., and waking up early to go to the gym or finish an assignment before heading to the office. There was a period of time where I was consistently sleeping only five hours a night and somehow still functioned. Every time I read an article about how getting a good night of sleep would make my skin better, life longer, and overall health and happiness improve, I would do a weird nervous laugh to dismiss that I was engaging in really unhealthy sleeping patterns.So when I got the opportunity to test out the Tomorrow Sleeptracker® Monitor, I was all in.
The way the tracker works is you place a sensor beneath your mattress and hook it up to your phone via an app. Then all you have to do is sleep. Every morning, I would wake up to a report giving me a sleep score, breakdown of my heart rate, breath rate, and even how much time I spent in REM, light, and deep sleep stages.
Since I inputed that I wanted to go to bed by 11:30 p.m., I would get a push notification reminding me of my bedtime every evening. On weeknights in, this alert actually gave me a solid reminder that I should be nice to my body and turn off my computer to be a normal cognitive human being the next day. On nights out, I would laugh out loud at the thought I would actually be in bed at that moment.
If I wanted to wake up at a certain time, instead of setting my normal iPhone alarm, I would have the app start to slowly play a lovely harp sound once it recognized I was at a very light stage of sleep close to my desired wakeup time. It reminded me of how when I was a kid, my dad would softly say my name until I my eyes would flutter open before going to school. It was a pleasant break from the blaring alarm that always gives me a minor heart attack. In fact, between the bedtime reminders and wake-ups, I sort of felt like the app was a parent keeping an eye out for me.
One of my favorite parts of the app was looking at the analysis of my sleep throughout the night. On nights that I felt like I dreamed a ton, I would always look at my phone to see how long that REM cycle actually lasted. On nights where I might have had a drink (or five), my deep sleep was through the roof. It was also interesting to see the quality of my sleep improve based on exercising or doing a lot of stressful work during the day.
But the best thing to see overall was that I was consistently sleeping for my desired length of time and actually getting a good quality of sleep. I often didn't feel the need to drink more than one cup of coffee in the morning and was cutting back on working too late or binging TV. I think the best thing the Sleeptracker® taught me was to be aware of my habits. Sure, it's great to have a high tech device give you the exact analysis of your sleeping patterns. But what is more important is just being conscious about sleep as a whole. Those daily reminders are really all you need to tell yourself that you are allowed to prioritize your health over anything else. Now put down your phone, turn off your computer, and get some shut eye.