Top #6 Sleep MYTHS Explained
#6 - My smart watch is monitoring my REM sleep / sleep stages
This is one of the most misleading myths coming directly from the sleep tech industry. It is well documented that the ONLY way to measure Rapid Eye Movement sleep is with an EEG (electroencephalograph - about 25 wires attached to your head) and EMG (electromyograph - wires attached to your cheeks to measure eye muscle movements).
Yet, many sleep trackers claim to measure REM sleep. What they don't really tell you is that they are only GUESSING. There are published studies showing the "average" person spending "X Number of Minutes" in Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, REM, Stage 4, etc. So, the other trackers are just using those published averages to estimate REM.
The problem is that autonomic oxygen, pulse rate, and movement interruptions (ESPECIALLY oxygen interruptions) change that "average" time in each stage, and completely disturb the "architecture" of your sleep. Thus, anyone with sleep apnea will NOT be correctly estimated by other trackers.
A second problem is that the amount of REM sleep people get is not necessarily related to how rested they feel in the morning. How "restored" you feel in the morning is related to time spent in each sleep stage, and how many times your body goes through the cycle of sleep during the night.
#5 - Smart Alarms help me wake up at the "right" time
As we determined in #6, REM stages are only tracked with EEG and EMG measurements. If you are struggling to wake up refreshed it is unlikely that the "smart" alarms would accurately measure your sleep stage so the time would be arbitrary.
The single best measure of how "rested" you feel in the morning is Quality Sleep. This number is found by measuring Fragmented Sleep, a well-known metric in the clinical sleep world. The only way to feel better in the morning is to increase the time you spend in Quality Sleep - and if you don't know what is causing your sleep fragmentation a million and one Tips to Sleep Better will not help. You have to understand WHY your sleep interrupted if you want to truly fix the root cause.
#4 - I can get by with a few hours, as long as I make up for it on the weekend
People all around the world are finally waking up to critical value of sleep. Sleep quality is directly related to health and happiness. Skipping sleep will catch up to you and the sooner you start to value, protect and nurture your sleep the closer you will find yourself to leading an energized, balanced, happy life.
Our bodies naturally thrive in cycles and routine - our sleep cycles or circadian rhythm is an oscillation of about 24 hours and can been seen displayed across species of plants, animals, fungi and even certain bacteria. Embracing and understanding these cycles as well as the lifestyle choices that can disrupt them (eg light exposure, caffeine, shift work, alcohol) can unlock the mysteries of health vs dis-ease. Sleep is now being recognized as one of the 3 pillars of health and is crucial to well-being and quality of life.
#3 - My new fitness tracker can also monitor my sleep
So beyond the claim of tracking REM sleep, fitness trackers and bracelets are now including Sleep Tracking on their checklist of features. Unfortunately for users with serious sleep concerns, this simple feature leaves a lot to be desired. The fitness tracker definition of "sleep tracking" is a crude excuse for sleep monitoring. The basic goal of these devices is to determine Awake VS Asleep - so if you are healthy, happy and sleeping pretty well this might not be a bad way to track how much sleep you are getting.
BUT if you have any concerns about your sleep - snoring, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, waking up too early, waking up tired, morning headaches, irritability, depression, anxiety, or tired all of the time - you will need to monitor much more than just time in bed.
The first, and arguably most important factor to determine sleep quality is to continuously monitor oxygen while you sleep. IF you are having breathing interruptions your sleep quality is greatly impacted. Depending on the severity, you may need to see a sleep specialist to determine if breathing disruptions are related to Sleep Apnea. Other breathing interruptions are related to body position, allergies or even nasal congestion could be the culprit.
Unfortunately, there is a new wave of sleep trackers that claim to use Pulse Oximetry to track breathing interruptions -- but use sub-par sensors and do not collect measurements continuously. If your monitor only gives you an average for the night, tracks breathing only occasionally or for a small part of the night -- you are not getting accurate or useful information.
Breathing interruptions can happen in a matter of seconds and what you really need to determine is how much time your body is being deprived of oxygen over the course the night.
EverSleep monitor records oxygen levels 30 times PER SECOND, all night long. This advanced system was built following key metrics used in sleep labs, and Details tab under Results will show nightly Breathing Interruption details including:
Major Events per Hour
Time Below 88%
Time Under 80%
#2 - I wake up a lot in the middle of the night due to stress and anxiety
In our high demand culture the stress of work, family, finances, politics, and social relations can cause increased stress and anxiety and no one is immune. This can have a negative impact on our ability to "turn off" and sleep properly. However, many people often assume that waking up in the middle of the night is just a symptom of this stress.
What they don't know is that waking up in the middle of the night is often a caused by breathing interruptions. These events trigger your nervous system and blast you with cortisol. There is a whole sub-category of insomnia known to be caused by breathing interruptions.
Only when you understand the true cause of your nighttime wakings will you be able to address the problem. In some instances, no amount of sleep hygiene or routine or meditation will help you get the quality sleep you need. But once you know the cause you can get personalized recommendations of products or tips of things that actually CAN help. If you are 1 of the 60 million Americans impacted by insomnia every year - there is hope !!
#1 - There is nothing I can do to improve my sleep, so I live with it.
The most detrimental and dangerous MYTH about sleep is that there's nothing you can do to fix it!
You are not a victim of your sleep and there IS something you can do. Actually, MOST sleep disturbances have a fairly easy "fix" - and no, it doesn't necessarily mean you will have to be on CPAP for life, or take a medication or alter your life in an extreme way. There are a huge number of very effective remedies on the market now, once you get the correct data to point you in the right direction.
You can improve your sleep, with a little motivation and a lot of data there is HOPE FOR BETTER SLEEP! We recommend using EverSleep once a week for a few weeks to gather a significant amount of data and see Trends emerge and gain valuable insights in Coaching: Tips & Recommendations. Then, give yourself a few weeks to implement the suggestions and coaching tips.
Use your EverSleep every few weeks while you track your progress and see which changes are most effective. Ideally, your sleep will improve and your EverSleep can be stored in the medicine cabinet until the next time you find yourself struggling.
Your profile is securely stored right on your personal device. By completing all profile details as well as nightly questions you can improve the coaching results. The EverSleep 2 mobile app automatically provides specific and actionable suggestions that become even more personalized over-time.
Understand the true power of EverSleep & get started today!
At EverSleep We Believe in The Power of SLEEP.
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Last Updated: July 7, 2020
First Published: April 24, 2019