We all desire more hours of sleep, and if we do not get a sufficient amount, we will feel the effects. Although most of us are aware of our sleep loss, we want data to prove it.
By placing a wearable device on our wrists before bed, you can have technology track your sleep patterns and even measure how well you sleep at night.
If you could visually see how soundly you are or are not sleeping, you might recognize that not only do you want more sleep, you actually need it.
Common Causes of Sleep Deprivation and How It Affects Your Health
At least once a day, you will hear someone at work or home express how tired they feel. This person may even be you.
There are several reasons you are already on your second cup of coffee, and it is not even noon yet. In fact, they are the same things causing you to lose sleep, hence the need for the second cup.
What Causes Sleep Deprivation?
Many of us believe we do not have much control over how well we sleep. Instead, we simply pull up our covers and close our eyes, hoping we do not wake up during the night.
But do our eyes remain shut until morning? Often, the answer is no.
The recommended hours of sleep, you need to stay healthy and productive, are 9 hours, and at the very least, 7 hours of sleep each night.
Although sleep requirements are slightly different for every person, most healthy adults need to get the recommended hours of sleep per night to function at their best during the day.
According to a study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough sleep.
There are several common causes of sleep deprivation, which include:
- Some people prefer not to go to bed at a reasonable hour, they prefer to stay up late to socialize, watch television or read a book.
These people are “night owls” who prefer being awake during the late night and very early morning hours. Thus, you do have some control over how well you sleep. It merely boils down to personal choice.
- The flu, colds, aches, and pain can cause snoring, gagging, restlessness, and frequent waking. Diseases can have a direct effect on sleep by fragmenting it.
- Not everyone can work a 9-5 job. Some people who do shift work disrupt their sleep-wake cycles regularly.
Jobs that require people to be frequent travelers (for example, airline crew) also tend to have erratic sleeping patterns.
- Sleep apnoea, snoring, insomnia, and recurrent limb movement disorder all are common problems that will disturb a person’s sleep.
They often suffer from a sleep disorder up many times throughout the night or keep them from going to sleep.
- Some drugs can cause sleep problems. Medicines used to treat disorders such as epilepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause insomnia.
- Where you sleep and what you sleep on can also be the reasons you are not sleeping at night.
Sleep can also be disrupted for a range of environmental reasons, for instance, the bedroom temperature is too hot or cold, noisy neighbors, a barking dog, or a snoring partner.
Poor Sleep Hygiene
- Some habits are contributors to sleep deprivation including, drinking coffee, a caffeinated drink or smoking cigarettes close to bedtime.
These are poor sleep hygiene habits that stimulate the nervous system and makes sleep less likely.
Another common problem is lying in bed and worrying, rather than relaxing.
Babies and Toddlers
- New parents or mother’s and father’s of a toddler almost always experience sleep deprivation.
As their young child(ren) wakes up frequently in the night for feeding, comfort, and a diaper change.
It is highly likely that the reason you are experiencing sleep loss is on the above list. You may not think that 5 or 6 hours of sleep, or regularly waking up in the middle of the night are affecting your health, but they are.
How Does Sleep Loss Affect Your Health?
There are many ways sleep loss affects the health of your body and mind. Below is a list of some short-term and potential long-term problems linked to chronic sleep deprivation.
- Lack of Alertness
- Impaired Memory
- Weakened Immune System
- Chronic Illnesses
- Quality of Life
- Hormone Imbalances
- Heart Attack
- Heart Failure
- Respiratory Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Unhealthy Appearance
You must pay attention to how long and how well you sleep every night. If you find yourself waking up at 3 AM each morning when your alarm is set for 8 AM, then you need to find out why.
Sometimes the “why” is not as straightforward as losing sleep due to the common cold. It is recommended that you consult your doctor if you are experiencing health and sleep issues.
If you are among those who do not even know that they are waking up multiple times throughout the night, there is one way to tell – Wearables.
How Wearables Are Improving Sleep and Even Saving Lives
The impact that inadequate sleep has on our safety and life quality is often not taken seriously enough.
Almost 20% of all serious car crash injuries in the general population are associated with driver sleepiness, independent of alcohol effects.
If you are unsure about your sleep patterns, wearables are improving sleep and even saving lives.
How Wearables Help With Sleep and Health
Wearable devices collect data on our wrist movements and/or heart rate while we sleep. The data is then wirelessly transmitted to our smartphone or computer.
Software programs and apps analyze the data to create charts and graphs for us to visually see what our sleep patterns look like.
Depending on what the sleep pattern data shows, we can check our device to view the graph, which will tell us how we spent the last several hours. Typically, it will provide a breakdown of time awake, time in deep sleep, and light sleep. We may even get an overall “score” for the night.
You can get a glimpse into how well we are sleeping during the night. Although wearables are not an exact science, you can use the data along with any sleep issues you are experiencing to gain “sleep interpretation.”
The data we receive from our wearables is only one piece of the picture. If you feel ill and are having trouble sleeping, one can be contributing to the other. It is best to talk to your doctor, and they may suggest a physical check-up, sleep assessment, or test.
But not all wearables go on the wrist. Several other types of wearable devices can provide information about your health. The tools are constantly developing, along with technology.
7 Ways Wearables Provide Sleep and Health Solutions
The advancements in technology are growing exponentially. As it continues to evolve, so will wearable devices and the features they offer.
Wearable capabilities depend on the device, but to give you an idea of what some do provide related to health and sleep solutions.
This list is broken down into two parts to make a total of 7 ways wearables provide the ways it improves sleep, health, and life quality.
1. Gradual Wake Up – Wearables often have a Gradual Wake Up Alarm that takes you gently and gradually from your sleep state to an awake one.
2. Peaceful Sleep Sounds – Many wearables can play music and sounds from the App Store and/or Google Play. As sounds affect sleep cycles, choose a quiet sound (like ocean waves) to play as you drift off to sleep.
3. A “Sleep Score” – Some wearables track your sleep movements to provide a sleep score. You can compare your sleep score from previous nights to see changes.
To gain a better look at what wearables can do to change your life, look at the examples of real wearables, below.
These wearables are improving the health and life quality of those who wear them.
Examples of Wearables and The Ways They Are Changing Lives
Astroskin is a smart shirt and a sweatband combination. It is made by the Montreal-based company Hexoskin. Dr. Robert Amelard is a research scientist involved in the development of Astroskin.
It was created for Astronauts at the International Space Station who are involved in a five-year project testing smart shirts to monitor their health.
The goal of the Astroskin, or Bio-Monitor, project is to reduce the effects that living in a zero-gravity environment has on the body, says Dr. Amelard, who is monitoring the project with the Canadian Space Agency.
Astroskin monitors physiological data like pulse, blood pressure, breathing rate, and blood oxygen saturation.
The system can be worn during sleep and exercise. It sends information down to earth while the astronauts orbit the planet.
5. Philips SmartSleep Deep Sleep Headband
Philips SmartSleep Deep Sleep Headband is a wearable solution to improve the quality of deep sleep.
The Philips Headband and mobile app are designed to help people improve their sleep quality, boost alertness, and reduce sleepiness throughout the day.
- Soft fabric headband is worn during the night.
- Monitors sleep and generate audio tones that improve the quality of your deep sleep.
This wearable is suitable for those who typically sleep less than 7 hours a night.
6. Oura Ring
The Oura Ring collects information about readiness, sleep, activity. It provides insight cards and data visualizations.
Here are some of what the Oura Ring tracks:
- Previous Night
- Sleep Balance
- Previous Day
- Activity Balance
- Body Temperature
- Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
- Recovery Index
Once the ring collects enough sleep and body signal data, you can get advice on the most suitable bedtime window for you. Helping you get better sleep.
7. Apple Watch Series 4
Apple’s smartwatch is more than a fashion statement. It has technology that can identify health issues.
The Apple Watch Series 4 is an FDA class 2 medical device that detects falls and has three heart-monitoring capabilities.
If a fall does happen to a person wearing an Apple Watch Series 4, it will deliver an alert from which the wearer can initiate an emergency call.
If 1-minute passes and the wearer does nothing, the watch will make the call automatically and send a message with your location to your emergency contacts.
It also features a low heart rate alert, heart rhythm detection, and personal electrocardiogram monitoring.
Consider your current health state, the number of hours you sleep each night, and how you want to enhance both.
If you want to improve your lifestyle, health, and sleep cycle, find out which wearable device is right for your needs.
These devices are changing the way many live their lives for the better.
Which wearable device would you choose?