Polyphasic Sleep Setup Pt2: Tracking Sleep

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Recently I've started a polyphasic sleeping schedule to squeeze a little bit more out of my time poor days at the moment. In this post I'm going to cover how I track my sleep currently and how I've done it in the past. I've written previously about my polyphsic sleep schedule, so check that out for a bit more of an intro.

The idea behind tracking sleep is pretty simple, use something to record your movements, breathing, heart rate and other indicators like brain waves while you sleep. By doing this you can see how your sleep quality correlates with your mood, productivity and general well being. As sleep happens in cycles, lots of sleep trackers also act as alarms, they can wake you up at the best time of your sleep to ensure you suffer the least amount of sleep inertia.

Sleep Tracking Products

There's heaps of products available that are either dedicated to tracking sleep or offer sleep tracking features. I'm going to go over the two I've used so far and some that I think look really great, or have been used by other polyphasers.

I was using the FitBit sleep tracking for a while and recently switched to using Android Wear. FitBit is great and I'll cover it in some detail as I think it's a great entry level tracker but I ended up switching from it to the Wear device. The third party "Sleep as Android" app for Android has Android Wear integration. I've used this app previously but stopped because I didnt like having my phone near my head while sleeping. I can't put my phone into airplane mode because I have to be on call for work. Now that Sleep as Android supports Wear, I can simply track my sleep by wearing the watch. There's some other really cool stuff that Sleep as Android does that I'll cover here too.

Over all there's a few critical criteria for me when it comes to a sleep tracking device:

  • No strong signals near my head
  • Silent alarms (alarms where the device on your wrist vibrates)
  • Being able to track levels of sleep (deep/light/rem)
  • Analysis and review of sleep logs
  • Accessibility to data

Currently: Android Wear w/ Sleep as Android

I've always been a bit dubious about the value of smart watches. There's been a series of factors that has changed my opinion on this - sleep tracking ended up being a significant factor in this change.

Recently I bought an LG G Watch R. The G Watch R is an Android Wear watch with a circular face, I wasn't interested in wearing a giant square watch. I purchased this watch over other options largely because of level of support provided by Sleep as Android.

LG G Watch R

This in combination with the Sleep as Android app works wonderfully well for tracking sleep. The app provides some really great statistical information about your sleep, Below is an example describing the best times for me to get deep sleep.

Sleep as Android advice

 

The per sleep view in sleep as android is full of great information too. I can see when an how long my various sleep cycles are and understand how long I should be giving myself for naps etc. It also does great stuff like record when I snore or sleep talk. There's also a hashtag feature so I can tag the sleep for things like "baby" "watch" "caffeine" etc.

 

Sleep pattern

Sleep as Android is also an alarm that does captchas/qr code scanning and also integrates with my Phillips Hue lights, so part of my alarm is that it turns the lights on. I'll cover that in one of the other posts.

So yeah, currently Sleep as Android and Wear is my goto sleep tracking solution, also Wear devices are very handy in their own right. There's a lot more to it than I've covered here, but some of those things will pop up in my other posts :)

Previously: FitBit

Before I was using my fitbit flex to track my sleep. The fitbit platform is great and probably the best starting point for anyone who is new to all this stuff. It does basic tracking and gives some high level stats on efficiency etc. Unfortunately I haven't used it for a while and can't go back far enough in the app to take a decent screenshot, so here's an example from their website:

fitbit sleep

I should note that fitbit seems to be actively doing work in their sleep tracker. Just before I stopped using it they'd added significant new sleep related features to their apps. I hope that's a move more in that direction!

Other interesting products

Samsung sleep sense just announced: Sleep Sense on news.com.au.

Beddit under mattress tracker: Beddit

Zeo brain wave sleep tracker: Zeo

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