There are very few people who would turn down the chance of improving their sleep. Catching enough zzz’s can improve your waking hours tenfold, but sleeping is also a very tricky thing to get better at. Generally speaking, you lie there, close your eyes, and hope for the best.
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However, the plethora of sleep trackers that have emerged in recent years beg to differ on that count, suggesting that there are all manner of ways to improve your snooze once you know more about it. To see if keeping tabs on your sleep can actually produce tangible benefits, Coach tried out the Sense sleep tracker. Here are a few things we learned from the experience…
Booze Kills Your Sleep
Any alcohol, from Friday night binges to a quick snifter last thing, affected Coach’s sleep. You might drop off quicker after boozing, but be prepared for a restless night that leaves you sluggish the next day even if you escape the hangover.
You probably already knew that alcohol wasn’t great, but the extent to which even just one drink disturbs sleep was surprising.
Heat Wreaks Havoc on Sleep
Coach tried out the Sense, which monitors temperature and humidity, during a rare London heatwave, which always makes sleeping a bit trickier. Prompted by the Sense’s hectoring about the heat each morning, Coach opened windows, and removed the duvet from its coverings to sleep solely under the latter. The result was better sleep for one night, and then the heatwave broke.
Midnight Noises Will Wake You
London is noisy, no tracker is needed to tell you that, but the Sense’s ability to log loud sounds during the night shows how much they can affect sleep. Those vague memories you have of waking up in the wee hours are likely directly related to the excessive sounds of city life. You probably can’t do much about this unless you move to suburbia or can bear earplugs, but good to know… right?
There are innumerable devices and apps that promise to gradually wake you up in the “light” part of your sleep, supposedly an altogether more pleasant experience than being jarred from deep slumber by a normal alarm. The difference isn’t massive but over time, you will appreciate the easy awakenings of a smart alarm, especially after late nights.
Sleep trackers make grand claims, but there is undoubtedly something to them. Even if they just point out the obvious, having the data laid out will spur you on to make changes, whether it’s avoiding a midweek drink, buying better curtains, or just committing to the same bedtime every day.
Sense Sleep Tracker & Smart Alarm, £149, hello.is (opens in new tab)
Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.
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