We all want to feel refreshed and rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep; that’s no secret. The number of hours needed to feel replenished does vary from one person to another, but a general estimate is that 7 hours of sleep per night is needed by most adults.
If you suffer from sleep apnea or another disorder, it may be difficult to get uninterrupted, restful sleep. According to a 2009 Canadian Community Health survey, over 1 in 4 (26%) of adults reported symptoms and risk factors associated with having or developing obstructive sleep apnea.
To learn more about sleep apnea take our quiz here.
With the advancement of technology there are now several sleep apps available that claim to track sleep patterns. Sleep experts recommend that research quality standards are necessary to fully assess sleep disorders, however it is interesting to see what sleep apps have to offer.
How Do Professionals Track Sleep?
Before looking at sleep apps, it’s a good idea to see how professionals monitor sleep. Sleep centre clinicians are focused on getting an accurate diagnosis and utilize a sleep test as a method of getting information. Sensors, tubes and probes are attached to various parts of the body and detailed information such as oxygen levels, heart rate, chest movement and airflow are provided for analysis.
If you would like to take a sleep study test with Provincial Sleep Group, book your appointment.
How Do Sleep Trackers Work?
Apps can be downloaded onto a smartphone or other device and no specialized equipment is required. Before going to sleep, simply place the phone under your pillow and the app on the phone tracks body movements as you sleep.
Fitness trackers such as FitBit function in the same way. Trackers can be affected by environmental factors and the resulting information can be reflected in the data that is reported. Apps may not be able to provide detailed analyses but they can provide a cost effective way to gain insight into your sleep habits.
Four of the Most Popular Apps
This app is intended to train the user to go to sleep by using repeated patterns/rhythms of music. Specially designed soundscapes are available that engage the auditory system and vestibular or motion sensory system which helps to facilitate sleep that is deeper and longer. It essentially trains the brain into creating it’s natural sleep rhythm.
Using motion detection and sound analysis, the Sleep Cycles’ alarm gently wakes you when you are in a light sleep. Waking up while you are a light sleep phase leaves you feeling less groggy and more refreshed.
Sleep Bot allows you to set alarms and create auto settings that track you during sleep. When going to sleep, start the app and your phone will automatically become silenced. Tracking starts when you have fallen asleep and a gentle alarm wakes you in the morning during non REM sleep.
Providing customized data in easy to read charts, Sleep Time tracks movement throughout the night and gives insight into sleep patterns. It comes with soundscapes of natural environments such as waves or rain which can help you fall asleep. Like many of the other trackers, it wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase to leave you feeling more rested.
Sleep apps are a great way to get your “sleep rhythm” in sync, but if you are finding that you're not feeling refreshed in the morning, and you feel like you could potentially be suffering from symptoms of sleep apnea, take our quiz below to learn more.