Technology

Better sleep is better health: Here are the top devices to help you sleep better

Picture used for representational purpose only.

Picture used for representational purpose only.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Scientists use medical-grade sensors and equipment to track body movements, brain activity, heart rate and more to monitor sleep. This process is called polysomnography. Most smartphone apps that track sleep mimic this process, but they do not monitor brain activity.

Research shows that one-third of a person’s life is spent sleeping. Much like eating and drinking, sleeping is a basic human need that is important for overall health and well-being.

However, 49% of adults surveyed admit they weren’t satisfied with their sleep, according to Wake Up Call: Global Sleep Satisfaction Trends report. People sleep less than the recommended level of quality sleep per night, the report said. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends seven or more hours of sleep per night for adults aged between 18-64.

Insufficient or poor sleep can worsen memory and make one less productive at work.

To highlight the importance of healthy sleep, the World Sleep Society hosted the 13th World Sleep Day on March 13, 2020. The goal of the society is to advance knowledge about sleep, circadian rhythms, sleep health, and sleep disorders worldwide.

A regular breathing pattern is a key determinant of a good night’s sleep. Persistent disruption of the breathing function leads to sleep apnea, which causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue.

Scientists use medical-grade sensors and equipment to track body movements, brain activity, heart rate and more to monitor sleep. This process is called polysomnography.

Most smartphone apps that track sleep mimic this process, but they do not monitor brain activity.

A common feature in fitness trackers and wearables is the accelerometer, which tracks sleep by interpreting movement as wakefulness and stillness as sleep. It is most effective when paired with a heart-rate monitor as the accelerometer alone can inaccurately interpret a person simply lying down to be asleep.

Some smartphone apps analyse the sound of different movements during various sleep cycles. The apps define fewer movements as deep sleep, and more movement as disturbed or light sleep.

Another way apps track sleep is through optical heart-rate monitoring. Tiny LEDs on fitness bands and wearables shine light on the user’s skin to read blood flow. As the flow changes, the LEDs reflect the it back to the device. This information is coupled with the user’s movement data to build a sleep report. Most wearable use this method to track sleep.

Here are some of the wearables that monitor sleep:

Oura Ring

Packed with infrared LEDs, NFC temperature sensors, a gyroscope and an accelerometer, the Oura ring tracks your body’s pulse, movement and temperature. The device showcases a holistic view of the user’s health.

Oura interprets a flurry of body signals through the night and gives a report on its app. The report captures data on deep sleep, REM sleep, sleep score, latency and sleep stages.

Motiv Ring

The Motiv Ring tracks the complete sleep cycle and gives a detailed report on the quality of sleep. The device also has a three-day battery charge, allowing users to store the health data even when they don’t use their smartphones. The ring syncs with the app when the smartphone is brought near it. Motiv Ring currently ships only to the U.S.

Beddit

Beddit sleep monitor tracks your sleep and work with the Beddit app on the iPhone. It’s a simple sensor strip that can be placed on your bed -- under the sheet or on the mattress. The strip is extremely thin and soft.

It tracks sleep time, heart rate, breathing, room temperature and humidity. If you give the device access to your iPhone’s microphone, it can even track snoring.

The Health app on the iPhone or iPad receives the data from the device. Also, this device is compatible only with iOS.

Fitbit

The Fitbit band tracks light sleep, deep sleep and REM stages using heart rate monitor and motion sensors. It measures time spent in each sleep stage and when the user is awake. It also helps in creating a sleep schedule based on the user’s routine.

Its database of sleep stats helps the user compare their sleep quality to those of the same age and gender.

Urgonight

By far the only wearable that comes closest to the medical-grade sleep analysis in our list of wearables, the Urgonight is a padded headband. It connects to an app that measures EEG. It also uses games to teach the user how to control their brain waves that impact sleep. The device uses neurofeedback therapy to show the user in real-time their brain activity. This feedback is to be used to change behaviour and routine to get a good and healthy sleep.

The device is designed to be used for 20 minutes a day, three days a week.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:23:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/better-sleep-is-better-health-here-are-the-top-devices-to-help-you-sleep-better/article31090646.ece

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