Tracking My Sleep

After I’ve been learning all this stuff about how important sleep is, I decided maybe I should start taking my sleep a little more seriously. I have an Apple Watch, and word on the street was that I could use it to track my sleep. I wasn’t ever doing it, mainly because the battery on that thing needs to be charged every night, so how in the world was I supposed to wear it at night and somehow keep it charged?

Two seconds of Googling showed me it charges in under two hours, so I can wear it at night and during the day, and then charge it for a couple of hours before I go to bed. So much for that excuse.

However, I also discovered that Apple’s native Sleep app only works on Watch series 3 and on. Mine is a series 2. While this does incentivize me to buy a new Apple Watch sooner rather than later, I wasn’t too keep on dropping another $400 just to track my sleep. So were there any free options available?

Yes there were.

Pillow tracks your sleep for nothing, though it has a subscription service that adds on bells and whistles like recording what you sound like when you sleep(?), analyzing your sleep patterns over time, and other stuff I haven’t really paid that much attention to. All I know is that I installed it, paid nothing, and I’ve already gotten an overview of how my sleep has been going for the past few nights.

In a revelation that should surprise no one, but did surprise me, I get significantly less sleep than I told myself I did. In my head, I went to bed around 10:30 and woke up at 6:30. 8 hours a night. See? I was fine. In practice, looking at the numbers, I start trying to go to sleep around 11, and I actually get to sleep around 11:30 or 12. (Though I think there’s a chance the app takes a bit of time to really be sure I’m asleep, I also think it’s probably closer to being right than I’d like it to be.) And while yes, I wake up around 6:20 (before my alarm goes off), I also wake up once or twice in the night. Which all means I usually get more like 6.5 hours of sleep.

(Rule of thumb: if you ever want to really know what you’re doing, track it. Track your calories. Track your exercise. Track your time. If you’re anything like me, it’s way too easy to give yourself the benefit of the doubt. A lot.)

So now that I know that, what do I want to do about it?

I’m going to continue tracking it, of course. In my experience, just by being more aware of how I’m doing in something makes me likelier to do better in it. (I improve in the things I consciously pay attention to. Go figure.) And I’m trying to get to bed at an earlier time each night. I’m not sure how well this is going to go, because I really prefer being up late, but I also prefer being healthy, so . . . yeah. I do think I’m improving already. My sleep totals for each night since I’ve been tracking?

  • 7 hours 9 minutes (Friday night)
  • 6 hours 50 minutes (Saturday night)
  • 7 hours 20 minutes (Sunday night)
  • 5 hours 35 minutes (Monday night–this is where I had to admit I might have a problem)
  • 6 hours 57 minutes (Last night, when I had convinced myself to go to bed earlier)

So yes, this doesn’t look as bad as I had walked away thinking. (Second lesson: I’m often harder on myself than I ought to be), but that Monday night was the first real normal weekday night, and I’d thought I’d done really well. Whoops.

We’ll see how well I can stick with this, and if I can really improve how I’m doing. We’ll also see what sort of an impact that has on how I feel overall. That’s the ultimate goal, after all. Be healthier, but also feel healthier.

Wish me luck.


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