“The only bridge between despair and hope is the perfect night’s sleep” – these wise words of Mathew Walker should be the motto of every person. Dr. Walker is a world-renowned sleep scientist and author of the book “Why We Sleep.”
Sleep is more than just a simple activity; it’s like a livelihood for your body. You are giving your body time to rest and replenish. This repair is why many doctors depend on the best sleep aids to treat simple mental and physical disorders.
Additionally, tracking sleep is essential not just for those with a disorder, but for everyone. This exercise will ensure you get better quality sleep and that your body heals each night completely.
Here are a few factors you can note from tracking your sleep. These pointers will help you understand the effect of sleep on your body and mind.
1. Sleep Quality
The sleep-cycle contains two parts. The first is called non-REM, and the other is REM. Here, REM means Rapid Eye Movement. This is a profound sleep state where the eye is said to have rapid fluttering below the eyelids.
This stage is also called the dream state, where people usually go into deep-dreaming. Your body will elevate all its functions (like blood pressure, body temperature, etc.) and keep your body in the most sound-sleep.
Many researchers have mentored that a person who gets at least 1-3 REM cycles can be considered the best sleep form.
2. Non-REM Sleep
The second part of this sleep cycle is non-REM sleep. The body spends the majority of the night in this form. Further broken into three different stages – between N1 and N3, are light sleep and transition to deep sleep, respectively.
Sleep research says that you must spend the majority of the night in the N2 phase. This part of sleep helps your brain retain memory facts and revive the brain’s functions. It also is the same state your body rejuvenates.
If you are a student, leading up to an exam, then you must ensure you get quality sleep for this very reason. And tracking your sleep will enable you to gain this result better.
3. External Factors Affecting Sleep
We just spoke about two of the primary reasons to track sleep, but some tracking apps also help you track your atmosphere. For quality sleep, your room should be free of external distractions like sounds and light change.
A sophisticated sleep tracker will note any external sounds that alter your sleep cycle. They will record these sounds and enable you to remove them from the room the next day.
The tracker also transcribes if your body reacted to these sounds, affecting your sleep quality.
4. Body Temperature Changes
For the most high-quality sleep, you must ensure that your body-core is at a lower temperature. As you enter deep sleep, your brain stops to track your body temperature, and the core temperature drops.
You can experience uncomfortable sleep if your body is not reaching the lower temperature. This action is the reason it’s more comfortable to sleep in a well-cooled room than a hot-chamber. Here is why scientists ask you to put on socks when you sleep – it will warm your limbs and cool your core.
5. Sleep Disorders
If you have any sleep disorders, then tracking your sleep is essential. This data is one of the best ways to beat the condition. It gives you usable information and helps your doctor give you better-curated treatments.
Especially in the case of Insomnia or Sleep Apnea, the need for tracking could be life-changing. Additionally, the use of pain medications will also provide ‘induced sleep,’ so tracking them is imperative.
Snoring is the most fun function of sleep tracking, also an essential sleep-calculational parameter. Snoring occurs from a few reasons like bone-structure of the mouth and nose, inflammation, allergies, or a cold. All of these could lead to other health ailments if untracked.
Tracking devices equipped with a mic will record your snoring sounds. They show how much of the night you spent snoring and with appropriate steps to reduce them.
If you think you do not snore, you will never know until you track your sleep. The results are often baffling.
7. Breathing Rate
In the first few stages of non-REM sleep, your body’s breathing slows down, dropping your blood pressure a little. This process helps you relax and slip into sleep. When you enter the REM stage, this breathing gets faster and varied.
The same will normalize when you wake up. If you have any breathing disorders like Asthma, this tracking parameter can help you preempt any changes in the body.
8. Heart Rate
Non-REM sleep makes you feel light and relaxed. This process primarily happens from the drop in your blood pressure and heart rate. It might sound alarming, but it is a natural process and is much-needed for the body.
This drop is heart-rate gives your heart and the blood vessels some time to rest and recuperate. Not getting enough sleep will undoubtedly affect your heart and rupture the arteries in the long-run.
9. Habit Change
If you cannot sleep all night and spend the whole day looking for a nap, this is an unhealthy habit you must change. One might argue that eight-hours of quality sleep should soothe the body and mind irrespective of the time.
Well, that is incorrect. Once the body is away from sunlight, in the late evenings and night, the body produces Melatonin. Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone for natural slumber. If you sleep in the day, this hormone reduces naturally, and sleep quality remains lean.
Using trackers, you can better enforce sleep-habit changes.
10. Brain Activity
The brain is the master of the body. While a tracking device cannot give you brain data – some people with serious sleep-disorders will need these scans to understand cause and effect.
In the case of an ordinary person, when you slip into non-REM sleep, your brain will find a rhythmic pattern and take a break. This behavior is the reason why ocean-sounds help you sleep – since they reciprocate the periodic model.
This brain data helps doctors track chronic sleep problems but is not a reason for concern in daily-life.
Think of sleep as the natural mechanic of your body. If you fail to take your car to the garage every few months, it is sure to break-down or perish before it’s estimated lifespan. The same is true for your body.
Sleep works as a natural healer, and not getting enough high-quality-sleep is the worst disservice you can do to your body and mind.