Dr. Rebecca Robbins is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the NYU School of Medicine, whose research examines the link between sleep and performance as well as strategies for optimal rest and recovery. This year, she is partnering with the Beautyrest brand to put a renewed focus on sleep performance—noting the importance of how high-quality sleep can give everyone an edge to perform more effectively throughout their day and in their waking life.
What Happens While You Sleep
Do you know what happens when you sleep? Understanding what happens while you sleep and monitoring your sleep habits with the Beautyrest® Sleeptracker® monitor can help you achieve improve your quality of sleep.
Each night we enter sleep, our brain and body undergo complex activities, each characterized by a different sleep stage. Our body first enters ‘light’ sleep, where it is very easy to wake a sleeping person, and then goes into ‘deep’ sleep that is characterized by muscular regeneration and recovery. Athletes, for instance, generally spend a larger proportion of their night in deep sleep than others.
Then, over the course of the night, we enter what is called rapid eye movement sleep, or REM sleep marked by high frequency brain waves stages. Some evidence suggests this stage is crucial for learning, memory, and retention of concepts learned during the day. Adults spend approximately 20% of the night in REM sleep, 50% in light sleep stages, and approximately 30% in deep sleep. However, there are individual differences in these general amounts of time from one person to another.
How To Understand Your Sleep And Fix It
While there is a gold standard for measuring these various phenonena that happen during sleep, the Beautyrest® Sleeptracker® monitor takes at-home sleep monitoring to the next level. The monitor includes a small device that is thin and slips under your mattress. Believe it or not, this little gadget picks up your breathing rate, heart rate and body movement. These inputs are then analyzed by the device, so that when you wake up you have a detailed report from your night before. The monitor tells you how much time you spent sleeping, but also approximates your time in different stages. You also can track your sleep using the sleep score, a metric that is tabulated to indicate your overall sleep quality, using your time spent sleeping, time spent in the different stages, and your number of awakenings.
Healthy habits and lifestyles start with awareness. The simple act of monitoring can help you start a good routine, or continue adhering to an already superb sleep schedule for a few reasons. First, the mere act of having objective output on your rest can help promote reflection that will allow you to modify your daily habits and identify the factors that promote or inhibit good rest. For instance, caffeine is one of the most common sleep thieves. If your monitor picks up tossing and turning, when you wake up to see your sleep report from the night before, reflecting on the things you did the day before can incentivize the changes that will maximize your sleep the next night. In the morning, the sleep coach feature of the monitor can even ask you questions about your day before to better inform that sleep report.
Also, the Beautyrest® Sleeptracker® monitor allows you to set different goals, such as adding a bit more time for sleep. The monitor uses complex machine learning algorithms to identify opportunities for you to improve your sleep score. The app will send you these personalized messages, truly a sleep coach in your pocket!