The idea of keeping track of your sleep quality has been popularized by the rise of smartwatches. Many health tracking smartwatches come packed with a sleep tracking feature, which monitors a variety of factors such as your heart rate and how much you move at night in order to determine how well you sleep.
But is keeping track of your sleep quality actually useful, or is it just a fad? Well, here are some of the reasons why tracking your sleep every night might be worth the effort.
1 – Sleep is important
The importance of sleep is hard to overstate. Lack of sleep has been linked to all sorts of negative consequences, including an increased likelihood of developing cardiovascular conditions, anxiety problems, depression, and chronic stress. And while a lot of attention is given to the golden rule of 8 hours of sleep at night, there is more to a good night’s rest than that.
6 hours of deep restful sleep will provide more benefits than 8 hours of light and fitful sleep. And since it can be hard to keep track of exactly how long you stayed in bed and how much rest you got in that time, having a health watch keeping track of your sleep for you can help eliminate any ambiguity.
2 – Spot trends
Sleep tracking is even more valuable when used every night for a long period of time. This approach allows you to spot when in the last week or month your sleep quality took a dive, and that in turn can help you infer the causes of the sleep troubles.
Maybe you had a hard time sleeping before a big meeting. Or maybe you just have a harder time sleeping in the last two days of your work week because that’s when you’re more stressed.
3 – Troubleshooting
Spotting trends will, of course, help you figure out how to solve issues. If you know stress will make it harder for you to fall asleep on a certain day, you can prepare ways to wind down and relax in advance, so you’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep and wake up the next day feeling refreshed.
And even if you can’t solve the problem right away, just knowing that you didn’t sleep well last night can already be useful. It can help you determine whether you’re in a bad mood due to lack of sleep or if it was caused by something else, for example.
4 – Encourage good habits
Another benefit of sleep tracking is that it encourages good behavior. People are naturally inclined to want to avoid bad scores. You may find yourself going to bed a little earlier because you got a good sleep score all week and you don’t want to break that trend now, for example.
Many sleep tracking apps also encourage good behavior by offering tips, keeping track of trends, and even awarding users virtual trophies to celebrate sleep quality milestones. And these encouragement tools can be surprisingly effective.
5 – It takes little effort
Finally, a good reason to start sleep tracking is simply how easy it is these days. It’s not hard to find a budget health watch that comes packed with sleep tracking features these days, and you can get an even better deal by buying a used watch. After that, it’s just a matter of putting it on every night and letting technology do the rest. It requires little investment, and the potential benefits can be huge.