When it comes to measuring the accuracy of sleep trackers, you have to bear in mind that it depends on a lot of parameters. To begin with, you have to understand that most of the devices available on the market are wearable and you can conveniently wear them like a wrist watch on your body throughout the day.
This will continuously track your body movement and classify them as active phase and sleep phase. When there is no movement in your body for some duration, the data is taken as sleep mode and this is reflected in the software when the device is synced with your computer.
In this way, you can get effective results based on how you use the device. It is also advisable to wear them on different parts of the body for a few days and check out the average data for the entire period.
If you are testing this on your own, this is likely to give more accurate results than anything else. On the other hand, you can also go in for a professional check-up and get the help of a sleep specialist if you suspect any sleep disorders.
This is the best approach as they will use sophisticated equipment to monitor many things at once and you can get results with better accuracy.
Various factors that determine accuracy
- They are based on accelerometers and track body movement
- Advanced devices can also measure heart rate and breathing
- Professional equipment used in labs give better results
- It depends on the software used for analyzing the data
Accelerometer based tracking
Most wearable devices work on this concept and they can only detect whether the body is in motion or not for any particular period. In this regard, you will not be able to determine other problems associated with sleeping and you should not consider the results from such devices to be completely accurate.
While this may sound good for a normal person having healthy sleeping habits, it is not advisable when you have some serious issues with sleeping. The difference comes to monitoring the quality of sleep against the time period you spend in this activity.
You have to remember that you may not have good quality sleep and face difficulty in breathing on many occasions during your sleep. However, accelerometer based devices will not be able to detect these intricate issues and you cannot go with such results when you have some problems with your sleeping cycle.
In this way, you have to understand the limitations of the device before you depend on them for accurate results. On the other hand, you can easily use these devices to monitor other aspects of your health and they also offer the convenience of being able to wear them for long hours without any hassles.
All these advantages will outweigh the minor limitations of sleep trackers.
Measure heart rate and breathing
There are many trackers that can also measure your heart rate and breathing along with sleep activity, and this will give you better results. The simple reason for this theory is that you will have to consider the breathing pattern and heart rate along with various parameters to measure the quality of sleep.
Remember that the sleep phase can only be determined by monitoring brain waves and you cannot rely on body movement tracking alone to get this result. However, it is not feasible to get brain wave data with equipment you can use at home; you will need to sleep in a lab for a couple of days to get such data measured during your sleep cycle.
On the other hand, wearable devices have their own advantages and they are very simple to use for the common audience. This is the reason for their growing popularity, and most people will be happy to combine the breathing rate and heart rate parameters into activity tracking and get some idea about their sleeping pattern.
When you use good software that can integrate all this information and make sense out of it, you will be able to get reliable results in most cases.
Sleep testing in labs
This is the best way to get the most accurate results about your sleep, and you can easily rely on such tests. They are performed by experts who have many years of experience in this field, and they will use sophisticated pieces of equipment to monitor your sleeping pattern.
In this way, you can easily trust the results, as professional doctors will personally monitor all the data from the brain wave activity, oxidation in the blood, breathing rate and heart rate, along with various other parameters. In this manner, you can accurately determine the sleep phase and this will give you the best results.
They will even consider eye movement during sleep to recognize the sleep phase, and it will be able to help you determine for how long you are having deep sleep during the night. The only downfall of such tests is that they take a long time and that you will have to sleep in the lab for a couple of days to complete the test.
Apart from that, you will also need to wear many electrodes on your head to get the brain wave data. In this way, it is not suitable for the average person who does not have many problems with sleep on a daily basis.
You will also have to consider the accuracy of the software in reading into the data when you use wearable devices. In this way, you can trust the popular software that is compatible with your device and monitor the performance closely for a few days.
This will give you the average performance on a daily basis, and you can consider this to be fairly accurate by general standards. You can also try using different software for the same data and check if there is any discrepancy in the readings.
All these things will help you to get better results from your device.