#TechThursday: This device helps to determine if you're getting enough quality sleep

#TechThursday: This device helps to determine if you're getting enough quality sleep

Snooze no more

Text: Denise Kok

Fitbit's new and improved member of the Alta family puts its improved sleep tracker and heart rate monitor to good use

Are you getting enough sleep?

Chances are, you're not. Sleeping in on the weekends to repay your sleep debt doesn't count. In fact, a marked discrepency between weekend and weekday sleeping hours is a clear signal that you're not clocking in the requisite hours of sleep that your body needs to function at an optimal level.  

According to Professor Michael Chee, Director of Duke-NUS Medical School's Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system and preserving cognitive functions. When asked if eight was the magic number when it came to optimal sleep durations, Chee pointed out that recommended sleep ranges vary across age groups. Toddlers might need to clock in 11 to 14 hours of sleep while the elderly (those aged 65 and above) might only require six to seven hours of sleep. 

However, sleep remains a difficult metric to measure and understand. Inceasing the absolute hours of sleep does not necessarily equate to a spike in sleep quality. Research has shown that the brain goes through multiple sleep cycles a night, with each cycle taking you through various stages of slumber — ranging from light sleep to deep sleep and REM sleep. Fitbit's new Alta HR software is fitted with a new heart rate monitor that keeps tabs on your pulse 24/7 — allowing its algorithms to process your heart-rate data and estimate what sleep state you're in. It's certainly a step up from other fitness trackers that can merely differentiate between your sleeping and waking hours. 

Besides collecting this data for you, the Fitbit Alta HR provides you with actionable insights help to improve your sleep quality over time. Reminders to wind down before bed, clock in exercise hours (a positive influence on sleep quality), and keep a consistent sleep schedule are all little steps that nudge you towards the promised land of bliss between the sheets. 

The Fitbit Alta HR is available at major retailers