How to Accurately Measure Your Sleep
Why would you want to measure your sleep? Well, accurately measuring your sleep can help you to identify key triggers that may be contributing to a disturbed night’s sleep. It can also help you to see which pre-bedtime hygiene factors are encouraging a better night’s sleep. It’s also quite a fun way to get closer to your health and wellness.
How is sleep measured?
Sleep can be measured by tracking your brain’s activity whilst you're awake and asleep, using electroencephalography (EEG). Signals sent by the brain can vary when you’re awake and when you’re asleep, making it possible to track and measure the different stages of sleep. Sleep-tracking tools such as earbuds like Nightbuds, can help measure your sleep.
Why is it important to monitor your sleep?
Tracking and monitoring your sleep each night can help improve the way you sleep for the short and long-term. Enjoying healthy sleep night after night can impact your overall health drastically. Quality sleep can help heal and repair vital organs, such as your heart and can also help with blood vessel and body repair. Match quality sleep with a nutritious diet and plenty of physical activity and you’ll be singing.
By monitoring your sleep, you can see how well you’re resting each night, the quality of sleep you’re getting and you’ll also be able to uncover ways to improve and elevate your sleep. You can even identify what’s hindering your sleep and make immediate changes to help you adapt your sleeping schedule or routine for the better.
Some of the areas to monitor when it comes to sleeping are the time it takes to fall asleep, the time you spend asleep, sleep efficiency, whether you wake up during the night and the different stages of sleep you experience each night.
Our sleep-monitoring, in-ear Nightbuds track the following:
- Sleep efficiency
- Time spent asleep
- Time taken to fall asleep
All of these measurements help to track your sleep so you can understand your patterns each night. It’ll then allow you to adjust your wind-down routine and habits during the day to help you improve your sleep and hopefully you’ll begin to see any improvements in your sleep-monitoring results.
Remember, these sleep measurements aren’t designed to add stress to your sleep schedule, instead they’re designed to help you improve your lifestyle habits that may affect your sleep - and they’ll also help you to optimise your wind-down routine.
The smallest tweaks such as having a hot bath before bed, reading a book for 20 minutes or turning down the lights, can help enhance your sleep and you’ll be able to see this via your sleep measurements.
4 ways to track and measure sleep
There are numerous ways to measure your sleep and it varies as to which option suits the individual. We’ll run through 4 ways you can track and measure your sleep.
Sleep-tracking tech can be an easy way to track and measure your sleep. Nighbuds are a go-to tool for better sleep, night after night. Like many sleep monitors, Nightbuds use sleep sensors to monitor and measure your sleep whilst you nod off. Nightbuds’ sensors are placed in the earbuds and use built-in sensors which can gather information about your sleep and sleep quality, to feed into the accompanying MyKokoon app.
By shining an infra-red light on the skin, the sensor can be used to measure your heart rate and its variability, which has been clinically proven to correlate with physical, mental and emotional stress.
The MyKokoon app analyses this information and produces a daily summary of your sleep; this includes sleep efficiency, length and quality.
So it’s a pretty nifty way of keeping track of your sleep and seeing which external factors may be affecting your sleep, such as audio, exercise, caffeine and going to bed at different times.
2. Whoop Sleep
Whoop sleep uses a fitness and health wearable wristband that’s worn all day and night (or as often as you like) to track your activity. The Whoop wearable monitors the wearer’s recovery, fitness training and sleep. It also offers coaching and indiviualised recommendations to help improve your sleep and other regimes.
Using just your smartphone microphone and speaker capabilities to track and measure your breathing rate and body movement, SleepScore provides insights into your sleep environment and provides in-depth analysis into every stage of your sleep. So you can monitor and analyse your sleep after each night’s sleep.
There are lots of FitBit versions to choose from, including smart watches and trackers. Some of them feature an ECG app for your heart & an EDA sensor for your stress. Plus, they can include a pedometer and other features to track and monitor your health. FitBits often provide personalised recommendations to improve your sleep quality.
The best way to measure your sleep at home
Nightbuds use smart technology to monitor and gather sleep data each night you wear them. Using PPG & motion-sensor monitoring enables Kokoon to create sleep insights to help you improve the way you sleep.
Your ears provide a very accurate picture of what’s going on whilst you sleep. Our sensor data is more accurate than other well-known monitoring brands due to its positioning in the ear.
Sensor detection adapts audio as you drift off to sleep. It fades your audio, then introduces either coloured noise to mask disturbances or switches off your device. These adaptive audio features enable you to get more shut eye whilst listening to your favourite audio.
Nightbuds are noise masking which help to quieten external disturbances like snoring, noisy neighbours and traffic. And the masking function comes into play thanks to its sleep measuring technology.
How do sleep monitors work?
Measure REM sleep
Sleep monitors often measure REM sleep. REM sleep usually starts around 90 minutes after falling asleep. By tracking REM sleep it enables you to see whether you’re getting enough of the ‘best’ part of sleep. This stage of sleep plays an important role for dreaming, your memory, healthy brain development and emotional processing. So, if you’re getting lots of REM sleep, you’re not doing too badly.
PPG & motion-sensing
NightBuds have an integrated PPG sensor placed in the right earbud. PPG (photoplethysmography) is the optical measurement of volumetric changes in blood flow. Reflected low intensity infra-red light is measured at the skin’s surface, the intensity is dependent on how much of the light is absorbed by the blood, which in turn is dependent on the volumetric flow of blood passing through the optical path.
Two of the metrics PPG sensor data can be used to measure are your heart rate, and heart rate variability. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the measurement of the variability of the time difference between each heartbeat, measured in milliseconds. Where your heart rate is the number of beats per minute, your HRV is the precise changes in time between heartbeats. We measure this, as (for example) a heart rate of 60 beats per minute does not mean your heart is beating exactly once per second, the time between beats can and does vary.
Tracks wake & sleep time
Sleep monitors track the time spent awake during the night and also the time spent asleep. This allows the wearer to become aware of how much time in bed is spent fast off and how much time is spent counting sheep. You usually receive an amount of time you’ve spent asleep in a particular night and some trackers will show you how this time fluctuates throughout the weeks and months.
Track time to fall asleep
Tracking time to fall asleep allows the wearer of the device to see how long it takes to drift off each night. If this time is consistently longer than it should be, then the sleep monitors will usually highlight this and can help to offer ways to improve wind-down routines or techniques to fall asleep.
Get started with sleep tracking
Sleep tracking/monitoring can be beneficial in many ways. It allows you to see certain aspects of your sleep routine that may have previously been overlooked, such as time it takes to fall asleep, quality of sleep and REM. By tracking your sleep to a level that you are comfortable with, you can work on optimising your sleep routine and hopefully see some beneficial changes along the way. Have a look at our suggestions on how to measure your sleep and see which device works best for you.