Wearable technologies are invading every aspect of our personal lives including even unconscious aspects such as sleep. Many sleep trackers have flooded in the market claiming to monitor your sleep patterns. The bigger questions is: are they accurate? Marks Janet, werable tracker user, found it quite weird. The sleep-tracker data revealed that his sleep pattern was not good, it was even worse. He got worried.
How does the wearable sleep tracker devices work?
Though the data was discourgaing for Janet, but he started loooking at it with skepticism. She started making a conscious effort to understand the sleep patters and made efforts to improve it. The more he gained knowledge about it, he started distrusting the wearable sleep monitoring devices.
All of these devices work on the single concept of actigraphy that measures just one variable: body movement during sleep. There is a sensor called accelerometer fitted in the device.
It records frequency, speed, direction of various body movements and plots graph to differentiate between deep and light sleep.
Though sleep tracker devices may prompt you to be aware of your bedtime routine, but this data is not very much accurate. Research has shown that wearable technologies both underestimate and oveestimate the time of deep and light sleep. Studies have suggested that it’s an unreliable way to measure the quality of sleep. They better way to measure the quality of sleep is to measure brain waves through electroencephalography (EEG) test. Such fitness trackers can’t detect the sleep Apena in which people stop breathing during sleeping.
What determines the quality of sleep?
Body movement is just one part of the overall sleep quality. There are many other factors that constitute the overall quality of sleep. These are airflow in lungs, oxygen level in blood, electric activity of muscles, eye movement and heart rate and few more.
The shocking truth about the werable sleep trackers
“They are measuring an indirect approximation of sleep through movement,” Michelle Primeau, clinical instructor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine says. “In order to make these estimations of deep or light sleep they are probably using an algorithm that takes into account the relative amount of movement that a person is having in the course of a night.”
Dr. Irshaad Ebrahim of the London Sleep Centre told in a The Guardian news report:
“They’re not measuring sleep, simply motion – not muscle tone, brain waves, heart rate or eye movement. You cannot infer quality of sleep from motion and tell what is crucial REM [rapid eye movement] sleep and what is not.”
Unfortunately available wearable tech sleep monitoring devices does not measure most of the above parameters.
These gadgets are not completely useless. They , at least, help you adopt a healthier sleep routine. It motivates you to take your sleep more seriously.