Sleep tracking comes in many shapes and forms but how do you track your sleep? From DIY wearables and smartphone apps to the old fashioned way of paper and pen. Below we’ll discuss all these methods and the importance of tracking your sleep.

Why should you track your sleep?

Sleep is an important factor for your health. It keeps your immune system balanced, regulates your moods and helps your body to rest and repair. Getting your forty winks is just as important as eating well, exercising and making healthy lifestyle choices. So it’s important to keep an eye on how you are sleeping and now with modern technology this is open to everyone.

Tracking your sleep helps you ensure you’re getting enough sleep. If you think you have a sleep disorder though, like sleep apnea, insomnia, or something else, sleep tracking is critical to receiving a proper diagnosis.

Paying attention to your sleep is the first step to getting better sleep. 

Sleep tracking wearable devices

Sleep tracking wearable devices often take the form of a small, clippable device you attach to your clothing, or a separate wristband or smartwatch. These devices track other important health facts in addition to sleep, such as your daily step total and heart rate. They provide a more holistic view of your overall health and wellness.


Image: Fitbit

Not only for keeping an eye on your physical fitness, the Fitbit Charge and Charge HR wristbands include automatic sleep tracking.

Automatic sleep tracking will record your sleep and then review your sleep duration in the Fitbit app. You will receive handy sleep insights and can also view the stages of sleep you are reaching each night.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch does not provide sleep tracking on its own, but many sleep tracking apps integrate with it, such as Pillow and Sleep Tracker.

Samsung Galaxy Watch

The Samsung Galaxy Watch has a built in sleep tracker that logs your sleep. You can activate the option to record REM sleep in its settings. After a recent update in October 2018 this is set to default. To save on battery life it is no longer required to set it to monitor your heart rate to track your sleep.

Sleep Tracking Apps

Image: Pillow

Sleep tracking apps are available on your smartphone or tablet. Their convenience makes them incredibly popular as does their price and ease of use. These apps use your phone’s accelerometr to monitor your breathing and body movements while you sleep. Many also claim to be able to determine what stage of sleep you are in, so they can time your alarm to go off when you are most likely to be in a light stage of sleep (making you less drowsy).

However, sleep tracking apps rely solely on your phone’s accelerometer, and since you make similar movements during deep and light sleep, there’s no way the phone can tell what stage of sleep you’re in. Also, it’s important to note that if you share the bed with a partner or pet, their movements can interfere with your data1.

However, these devices are a useful first step in determining whether you need to see a doctor about a potential sleep problem. Apps such as Pillow, Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time. Find out more about sleep tracking apps in our article here.

The old fashioned way

If you prefer to keep things tech-free you can try a sleep diary.

For each day, note the following:

  • When you went to bed
  • When you woke up
  • Total time spent asleep
  • Any naps
  • Other information, such as exercise, diet, energy level, feelings of fatigue, or naps taken

There are many ways to monitor and track your sleep, however if you think you may have an issue with sleep get in touch with your doctor who can best advise the right route for you.

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