PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – There are all kinds of apps to keep you fit. Now, apps – and their accompanying gadgets – will help you get a look at how you sleep.
“A lot of people are walking around sleep-deprived, which has health consequences and workplace consequences,” says Dr. Daniel Shade, a sleep specialist at Allegheny General Hospital. “It’s important to know how much sleep you’re getting, then to make sure it’s good sleep.”
“Seven-and-a-half to eight-and-a-half are what the average adult needs, but nobody gets that,” he said. “Six hours, maybe seven if you’re lucky. And if you’re younger, maybe less.”
Wrist bands by Jawbone, Fitbit, and Garmin can give you some information by detecting your movement.
“It assumes that if you’re moving, you’re awake. If you’re not moving, you’re asleep,” Dr. Shade says.
These can be synced to an app on your smartphone, so you can see and track your sleep patterns.
Some of these even offer advice and tips.
With extra straps and light beams, the price can vary.
“Anywhere from less than $100 for a very simple device to thousands of dollars for something that sits on your night stand and measures your chest and sweat, pulse,” says Dr. Shade.
At the upper end, there are smart bed devices with stick-on strips and bedside components to check weight and chest movement as a marker of breathing.
Of course, these are a fun way to size up your slumber with no need to spend a lot of money.
“The simpler the better, because again, you’re not trying to diagnose a sleep disorder,” Dr. Shade says.
If you’re really worried something is wrong, like sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, and other sleep problems, there are better ways to pinpoint trouble.
“If you really think you have a sleep disorder, you should go to a sleep physician, and a sleep center and get diagnosed,” he says.
A study in a sleep lab will look at brain waves, sleep stages, and other information these gadgets don’t always include — information beyond just the amount of sleep, which often isn’t the whole story.