How does the tenant tracker work

Sleep trackers - How useful are they for assessing sleep quality

About a third of the population in Germany suffers from sleep problems. This can manifest itself in such a way that it is difficult to fall asleep or that frequent waking phases occur during the night. The obvious idea is to optimize sleep.


But going to a sleep laboratory seems too time-consuming for light sleep problems. The alternative of a sleep tracker, which can also be used at home in a comfortable bed, is better.

Are these home models accurate enough to be reliable and how do they actually work? This guide gives a detailed insight into the meaningfulness of the sleep tracker.

What can the sleep tracker be used for?

The most obvious use of sleep trackers is related to sleep problems. These occur when falling asleep is disturbed and there is still a high level of tiredness in the morning. The day can only begin with coffee. Otherwise, tiredness will drag on for the entire day and your performance will be significantly limited.

The sleep tracker offers the possibility of a detailed analysis of your sleep. Of course, the functions differ depending on the model, but nowadays the sleep trackers can act like a small laboratory and suggest that they can improve sleep. Among other things, the pulse is measured, the movements recorded and the volume in the room determined.

This data can be used to identify which sleep phase is currently present and whether it is not disturbed. Strong movements indicate, for example, that sleep is not deep enough. The volume can be used to determine snoring noises and even pauses in breathing. Sleep apnea is a common trigger for sleep problems and can therefore be measured with a sleep tracker.

But the tracker is not only useful for clinical problems. It can also be used by people who want to optimize their lifestyle. By changing your sleeping habits you can check exactly whether these have a positive effect. The data can then be analyzed over a longer period of time and it can be checked whether the change measures made sense.

This optimization is interesting for athletes, for example, or in general for people who value high performance. After all, sleep has a significant influence on these properties and is largely responsible for the quality of life.

How does a sleep tracker work?

How the sleep tracker records this data depends on its type. Two different modes of operation can be roughly distinguished.

The simple models work like a conventional fitness tracker. The smart watch is on the wrist, has numerous sensors and determines the data. A microphone records the volume, the position sensor determines the movements and a heart rate monitor measures the heart rate. This data is then evaluated via an app. It is therefore necessary to use the smartphone and the tracker together.

More complex trackers use a sensor mat to record the movements. This is placed under the mattress and is able to measure even fine impulses. However, these devices are usually associated with higher costs.

Based on this data, the app can evaluate which sleep phase took place at which point in time and whether the sleep quality was impaired. This is mainly achieved by measuring movements and heart rate. Then it can be analyzed whether the sleep was sufficiently deep and long or whether it makes sense to change the sleep behavior.

The precision

Measuring the quality of sleep with a small wristwatch sounds like a lot of work. After all, there are some factors that are critical to sleep. So how reliable are the sleep trackers and can you rely on their interpretation of the data?

Whether the measurements and the determination of the sleep phases are reliable depends above all on the measurement method. If only the smartphone with the app is used, the data is considered unreliable. Scientists criticize very clearly that the smartphone should not be trusted and that the sleep phases can hardly be determined.

A scientific comparison also shows that even sleep trackers for the wrist or with a sensor mat do not work precisely. The motion sensor can be used to say pretty precisely how long a person sleeps, but statements about the individual sleep phases can hardly be made. This applies to both the simple devices on the wrist and the larger mats that record movements more sensitively.

Caution is therefore advised when trying to assess the quality of sleep on the basis of the tracker. They are useful for checking individual values. For example, sleep apnea can be determined, which without this technical help could only be checked in the sleep laboratory.

A comprehensive measurement of the actual sleep quality is not possible, however. Rather, the subjective feeling should be trusted. Anyone who feels permanently tired and is therefore less able to cope with everyday life should see a doctor. Because the sleep trackers could come to the results that a restful sleep should have been present. But only users will know if this was actually the case.

Ultimately, only the sleep laboratory is able to assess the quality of sleep. And even here a few series of measurements are necessary in order to obtain reliable data. Sleep trackers can therefore only be used selectively to determine individual sleep values. But they are by no means a scientific measuring instrument that users should rely on.


About the author

I'm Sebastian and I've been struggling with a house dust allergy since I was little. This resulted in a few sleepless nights. Meanwhile I have my sleep under control again and would like to pass on my experiences about healthy sleep on my website

Keywords:Android, app, Apple, hardware, sleep tracker, software