What are the workings of sleep tracking apps and gadgets, and how accurate are they? What is pulse OS, and which fitness trackers with oximeters are the best?
I’ll answer all of those questions and more in this essay.
Sleep is an essential aspect of human life. We spend about a third of our lives sleeping, but proper sleep is essential for staying healthy and energized. Sleep deprivation promotes low tension and significantly impacts our memory. So it’s reasonable to wonder if your Mind and Body are receiving enough restful sleep or if you’re suffering from a sleeping condition.
People used to keep track of their sleep in the old days by asking their partners, maintaining a diary to record sleeping hours, or recording their own sleep. These approaches may work for calculating sleeping hours, but they will almost certainly fail to determine the sleep quality. As a result of the growing understanding of the importance of sleep, a new invention known as Sleep Tracking Applications and Devices was created. These sleep monitors are intended to provide reliable information about sleep and its patterns. There are a plethora of sleep tracking apps and devices on the market, many of which claim to track distinct sleeping cycles and how much time you spend in each. Do these trackers, however, work? Let’s take a look at them one by one.
HOW DO SLEEP TRACKING DEVICES AND APPLICATIONS WORK?
Sleep monitors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of them are wearable; you can wear them as a band or a watch around your wrist, or a necklace around your neck. Others are sleep trackers that are not worn. You can keep them on your mattress or on a bedside table beside your bed. These non-wearable gadgets also come with apps that can be downloaded to your phone. These devices track various elements to determine whether or not a person is getting enough sleep. These elements include:
Movement of the Body
Our body movement is the most crucial factor in helping these gadgets track sleep. While we sleep, our bodies become relatively still, making fewer motions. During we do twitch and alter positions while dreaming, we are usually relatively quiet while sleeping. Actigraphy or an accelerometer can be used to monitor these body movements. Actigraphy is a type of wearable technology in which the device comprises a sensor that we wear around our wrist. Non-wearable gadgets, on the other hand, rely on accelerometers, which need you to keep the device or your smartphone closer to you so that it can detect movement and determine whether you are sleeping or awake.
Furthermore, the microphone is used by these tracking devices to capture or record noises. These noises can occur from your Body in a variety of ways, including snoring, gasping, coughing, and so on. The microphone may also detect noises from the environment, such as the television sound or the constant beeping of a telephone. The existence of these noises indicates how well you sleep.
Heart Rate (HR)
The heart rate is another essential component that allows these devices to track our sleep. During sleep, a person goes through several different stages. The initial stage of sleep is light and easy to wake up from; this stage lasts only a few minutes.
During the second stage, your brain waves start to calm down, and your heart rate drops. You begin to move into a more profound slumber that is more difficult to wake up from in the third and fourth stages. Your Body grows, restores, and strengthens its immune system during this time. Your brain gets more active, and dreams occur during the final stage, which is known as Rapid eye movement (REM). The information in your brain begins to be processed. Your heart rate rises at this point. HRM technology is used in wearable sleep tracking devices. The heart rate monitor (HRM) is affixed to the skin through a sensor. The non-wearable mattress sleep trackers, on the other hand, employ BCG.
Ballistocardiography (BCG) is a technique that uses bodily motion to determine heart rate. In the event of any body movement, the BCG sensor on the mattress strip delivers a signal to the gadget.
The temperature of the Body
The temperature has a direct influence on sleep quality. A thermostat is included in specific sleep trackers to measure the room temperature. The recommended sleeping temperature is between 16 and 20 degrees Celsius. Suppose the thermostat detects the temperature outside of this range. In that case, the tracking device will instantly recommend that we modify the temperature.
Saturation of oxygen in the blood – Oximeter
A unique sensor paired with an algorithm allows some new watches to assess the oxygen saturation in the blood (Oximeter).
This information, combined with the pulse reading, can significantly aid in detecting sleep apnea.
Sleep tracking devices look at the following things based on all of the above:
Duration of Sleep: Once you become inactive, the device will begin tracking your sleep patterns from the moment you fall asleep until the time you wake up.
Sleep Quality: Your movements during sleep will be monitored to determine whether or not your sleep was disrupted.
How much time do you spend in each stage of sleep? Some tracking devices keep track of your sleeping phases and the amount of time you spend in each. They set the alarm to go off when you are not deep asleep or in the light sleep phase in this way.
The environment in which you sleep has a significant influence on the quality of your sleep. These devices keep track of the temperature and amount of light in the room where you sleep.
Physical or lifestyle factors: these devices also need you to enter information about your everyday life, such as how much exercise you did today, when did you last eat before going to bed, how much caffeine you consumed today, is your stress level is high today and many more. They assess how your daily life may affect your sleep by calculating all of these.
Oxygen saturation: some instruments can accurately measure oxygen saturation in the blood; this information can aid in the detection of sleep apnea.
Sleep Tracking Devices and Applications conclude and make recommendations based on these calculations, such as whether a person is getting excellent quality sleep or if their sleeping pattern needs to be improved.
Is the data collected by these sleep trackers reliable?
These sleep trackers could help you figure out your sleeping routines. Let’s say a person feels sedentary or stressed during the day, and they realize it’s because they didn’t get enough sleep.
In these circumstances, the gadget can identify elements that contributed to his inability to sleep the night before, such as drinking too much coffee after lunch or sleeping at 9 p.m. and waking up at 5 a.m. instead of sleeping at 11 p.m. and waking up at 7 a.m.
These gadgets can also be used to calculate the amount of sleep a person gets daily.
Above all, everyone who has visited a sleep lab knows that sleeping in a bed that isn’t your own or in an uncomfortable atmosphere is unpleasant instead of wearing a device and sleeping discreetly in your own room.
As a result, we can conclude that these gadgets may be helpful for a healthy individual who only needs to identify his sleeping patterns and gain insight into his sleeping routine.
The ideal item to invest your money in is a sleep tracker that helps a person keep to his sleep routine and obtain more sleep.
Are fitness trackers capable of detecting sleep apnea?
According to a 2017 study conducted by the Cardiogram health start-up and the University of California, San Francisco, smartwatches can be used to detect hypertension and sleep apnea with near-perfect accuracy (UCSF).
The study’s findings suggest that Apple’s watch and other wearables like Fitbit’s can accurately detect common but critical health concerns.
The Apple Watch utilized in the tests had a 97 percent accuracy rate in detecting an irregular heart rate and a 90 percent accuracy rate in detecting sleep apnea. According to TechCrunch, the Smartwatch diagnosed hypertension with an accuracy of 82 percent.
The study included 6,115 persons who wore their Apple smartwatches for a long time and utilized the Cardiogram app.
A total of 1,016 people were diagnosed with sleep apnea, while 2,230 people were diagnosed with hypertension.
DeepHeart’s deep neural network analyzed the data collected from Apple watches and diagnosed hypertension and apnea.
The findings point to a new technique of diagnosing major health problems in those who aren’t aware of their symptoms.
Even if the findings of this study appear encouraging, many of these gadgets may not be helpful in circumstances where a person is suffering from a sleeping condition such as insomnia or sleep apnea.
Many studies imply that the sleep quality these devices evaluate isn’t reliable because they only use primary data like your sleeping hours or how many times you wake up at night.
For example, a person with sleep apnea may stop breathing 200 times per night. However, the tracking devices and applications will not identify this because the person may be standing still for a long time.
A pulse Oximetry sensor (Oximeter) may be helpful in these situations since it can monitor the level of oxygen saturation in the blood while sleeping.
Best Oximeter Fitness Tracker
Built-in Oximeter sensors that can monitor oxygen levels in the blood are already being used by the leading brands in the fitness tracker business.
Popular watches such as the Garmin Vivosmart 4, Fitbit Ionic, and maybe the most well-known – the Apple Watch 4 – can reliably assess blood oxygen levels.
Here’s a rundown of some of the top fitness trackers with oxygen meters on the market right now.
I’ve included links to relevant Amazon pages so you may read more about them.
- Series 4 of the Apple Watch
- Vivosmart 4 by Garmin
- Garmin Fenix 5X Plus, Fitbit Ionic
According to surveys, people who suffer from sleep disorders prefer to go to sleep labs rather than rely on these devices.
Sleep experts in a sleep lab will monitor your sleep and identify a sleep disorder by looking at your brainwaves and other critical processes like your heart rate, oxygen levels, Body, eye movement, and breathing.
As time goes on, additional capabilities are added to tracking devices and programs to improve their accuracy.
For instance, your eye movement and how frequently and for how long you stop breathing. If these features can be added to the gadgets, they will be more beneficial for persons who suffer from sleep disorders.
Asleep tracking option is available on many activity and fitness trackers on the market.
This function can be extremely useful in providing you with crucial insights and information about your sleep and sleeping patterns.
Suppose you have a severe sleeping condition, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. In that case, some devices can identify it with high accuracy, but you shouldn’t rely on them and should have it checked out by professionals in a sleep lab.
I hope I answered your question on how sleep tracking apps and gadgets operate!