The new range of fitness trackers often have the capability to literally be useful 24 hours per day. While you’re sleeping, keeping the monitor on your wrist allows you to get a fairly accurate picture of the kind of sleep you get as well as the amount of time you spend in the most important parts of the sleep cycle.
The question is: How valuable is this information to your fitness program. People have managed to get in good shape for centuries without a band that told them what was going on when their eyes are closed. So why do you need it now?
Sleep Is Key
Good sleep is vital to your fitness routine. That’s common knowledge. What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that there are very distinct phases of sleep that must happen each night in order for the rest to be valuable. It’s why you can “sleep” for eight hours, but wake up every few minutes and not feel like you’re rested. Sleep is your brain rewinding from the day, and it’s a function with importance that probably should never be understated.
What the fitness bands offer is the ability to monitor the sleep that you’re getting and let you know from the data whether you’re getting enough sleep, too much sleep or not enough good sleep. Fitful sleepers may be able to get an idea of what time of night they are able to get the best sleep. Also, people who don’t get sleep on a regular pattern can get information that might help them either establish a pattern or at least see what they’re doing with their activities during the day when their pattern is off.
The sleep tracking function probably fulfils matters of interest more than it does matters of importance, but that isn’t to say that you couldn’t find a way to actually use the data. The way that the information seems to get the most attention is when people compare the activity the day after a good night of sleep to the activity the day after a bad night’s sleep. You can literally see on a chart or graph the importance of sleeping well, and I don’t think there’s any question that that’s good information to have.
Bedtimes Aren’t Just For Children
The sleep tracking features can also help you establish the best bedtime for yourself by letting you determine when your body is most likely to be tired enough to fall into a good sleep pattern. There’s lot of evidence from studies that show that people who work shift work and can’t get on a schedule for sleep have much higher incidences of depression than people who sleep normally. The data that your fitness tracker saves while you’re sleeping can help sort out all of that.
It Should Know When You’re in La-La Land
I’m still not sure that it’s necessary, but figuring out your sleep habits certainly can’t hurt. The only thing that I would warn would be to make sure that you get a band that can detect when you’re sleeping rather than one that requires you to tell it when you’ve gone to bed for the evening. Some nights, I’m so tired that I’m lucky if I remember to take off my glasses much less keep in mind to turn a fitness band from night to day.
It’s also important in the morning. If you oversleep or you’re a particularly heavy sleeper, the fog that you’re in isn’t going to give you the presence of mind to let your wrist know you’re awake.
Sleep Data Helpful But Not Vital
We’ve survived through thousands upon thousands of years of humanity without needing to know the value of the sleep we’re getting to live normal and productive lives, but I certainly don’t see any harm to collecting the data.
If having the tracking software will get more people on a regular sleep cycle that gives them a better quality of life during the day, then I think it’s great. If it can address problems with sleep by just alerting people to what is going on when they think they’re knocked out, that’s also wonderful. We’ll survive as a society without it, I’m sure, but I don’t see any harm in tracking it if you’re interested.