Your head just hit the pillow, you’ve finally calmed the voices in your head, and drifted off into dreamland. Ah, it’s bliss… Except for that incessant racket. What is that? An annoying bird? A truck backing up? Nope, it’s the alarm clock. And there’s no room in your morning for the snooze button.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re in tired company. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, 45 percent of Americans sleeping 7 to 8 hours each night feel tired or poorly rested up to three times a week. 54 percent of people who clock six or fewer hours say they wake up feeling tired 4 or more days per week. Clearly, the Zzzzombie apocalypse is here!
Silly Sandman references aside, skimping on sleep has a negative impact on your metabolism and can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes. And it could have a harmful effect on those around you. Research shows drowsy driving is on the rise, and it’s nearly as dangerous as drunk driving—there are at least 100,000 police-reported crashes attributed to driver fatigue each year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
What’s a sleep deprived person to do? “Get more rest!” says Adrienne Tucker, PhD., a cognitive research scientist for Fitbit. “Easier said than done, I know,” Tucker adds. “Our brains are like dimmer switches, which is why many find it helpful to schedule 30 to 90 minutes for relaxing activities before bedtime.” Fitbit bedtime reminders are a useful tool for helping you remember to unwind, and other features can help you get your sleep back on track. Here’s how:
Step 1: Understand Your Personal Sleep Needs
Most people need 7 to 9 hours of sleep, but the exact number varies from person to person, says Tucker. To find your optimal amount, try going to bed when you’re feeling tired and allow yourself to sleep until you naturally wake up (no alarm Saturday, yay!). By doing this a handful of times and tracking your sleep with Fitbit, you’ll get a record of how much sleep you’re getting. Which, in turn, can help you get a better picture of your natural sleep and wake times.
Step 2: Set a Goal and Stick to It!
Once you have an idea of how much sleep you need, set a sleep goal with Fitbit and change up your routine to ensure you’re hitting it. For example, if your sleep goal is 8 hours and you have to be up by 7:00 am to make it to work on time, commit to getting into bed earlier so you can fall asleep around 11:00 pm. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day will help synch your body clock. “Aligning your body clock with your sleep schedule can help you fall asleep faster and wake up naturally,” says Tucker. “We’re learning this is important for so many aspects of health, including weight loss and metabolism,” she adds. Don’t trust your internal clock? The silent alarm feature on your Fitbit can help you wake peacefully and regularly.
Step 3: Assess the Quality of Your Sleep
Going to bed earlier won’t do you any good if you spend the night tossing and turning. Take a look at the graph in your Fitbit app to see when you’re not sleeping, and try to figure out what caused those wake ups. Did answering work email before turning out the lights make it harder to fall asleep? Did the temperature skyrocket, causing you to peel off the blankets? Identifying the habits and environmental factors that impact your sleep can unlock the secrets to your best rest routine. (It’s normal to be restless several times per night, but full wake-ups can become problematic.)
Have you been using the Fitbit sleep feature? Did you set a sleep goal? Share your thoughts in the comments!
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.