Understanding your sleep statistics

Your Sleeptracker® statistics and what is “normal”

Preface: We are all different. However we can learn a lot from the Sleeptracker® community, comparing our own sleep to “people like me” to help us gain a better understanding of our sleep. So these “normal” values and ranges simply reflect Sleeptracker® stats for 90% of the population, 90% of the time. If you are an elite athlete or have a chronic condition you may find yourself out of range for some of the stats. It’s important to understand where you are and make small improvements over time. Be patient with yourself.

Total Sleep is not the time spent in bed, but the time when you were actually asleep. A restful night’s sleep for most people ranges from 6 to 9 hours. Statistically, females on average tend to sleep a little more than males. Everyone is different. What counts is how rested you feel and making small improvements. For example, if you find initially you sleep for 6 hours on average, try to set your goal for 6 hours 15 minutes. Iterate until you feel more rested.

Time to Sleep is the time elapsed between starting a sleep recording and actually falling asleep. If you fall asleep in less then 3 minutes you are probably sleep deprived. If it takes you more than 30 minutes to fall asleep (once you’ve decided to fall asleep, not if you are simply reading a great book), it would be good to look at factors which can impact time to sleep such as when and what you ate and drank before bed, caffeine consumption, and how much exercise you’ve had and when that occurred. Finishing eating and drinking a couple of hours before bed, stretching, and having a cool and quiet bedroom helps.

Light Sleep, REM Sleep and Deep Sleep: Sleep occurs in waves, with a crest called REM (rapid eye movement) when we dream, and a trough called deep sleep when we are in maximum recovery mode, together with several intermediate stages. All stages of the “sleep wave" are necessary, and sleep typically comes in multiple waves. Depending on the individual, each wave of sleep lasts 45 to 90 minutes and and we experience between four to six waves of sleep (complete cycles) per night. The highest percentage of deep sleep is experienced during the earlier waves.

Awake timedisplays how long your “awake events” are during the night. Often, we don’t even remember some of these awake events if they are short. However if you are awake for more than 12 minutes, it may be a good idea to get up and do something relaxing. Pascal, Newton, Mozart, Debussy, Einstein, Nadia Boulanger and many other geniuses would actually sleep in “two shifts”: they called it “First Sleep”and “Second Sleep” and claim they did their best work in the middle of the night. That’s hard to do in a modern world with standardized work hours.

Wakeup displays the number of awake events you experienced during your sleep. If they are short, you may not remember them. Up to 3 to 5 wake events is quite normal and with young children or pets some of us experience several awake events each night.

Sleep Score (range 1 -100): Sleeptracker® monitor makes it easy to rate your sleep from day one, with your “Sleep Score”. For example, there are people with a sleep score of 50 out of 100 initially, who after a few months of using Sleeptracker® monitor improved their sleep score to 75, and continue to improve. The ideal sleeper will look for a sleep score of 90+ over time. But many healthy individuals function well at 75 or above.

Sleep Efficiency is the percentage of time spent sleeping. For example spending 8 hours in bed and 6 of those hours asleep is a sleep efficiency of 75%. Some people start at 50%, and after a few months reach a sleep efficiency of 75% and continue improving incrementally. With an 85% sleep efficiency or higher you are doing well.

Percentage of Sleep Goal: This is a great tool to incrementally increase your total sleep time. Set your initial sleep goal at a realistic time for you, then increase your goal by 10% until you beat it, then iterate. Unrealistic goals are demotivating. Small incremental wins are empowering.

Average Breathing Rate is the number of breaths you take in a minute. Sleeptracker® monitor measures your breathing rate continuously throughout the night and produces an easy to understand line graph. For healthy individuals between age 16 and 65, resting respiratory rate between 10-22 breaths per minute are considered normal. After about 67 years of age it’s common for respiration rate to increase by up to 20%. Snoring and sleep apnea affect breathing rate, as well as illness, pain or fever.

Average Heart Rate is the number of beats your heart takes in a minute. Sleeptracker® monitor measures your heart rate continuously throughout the night and produces an easy to understand line graph. A heart rate between 40 and 85 is considered healthy. Snoring and sleep apnea affect heart rate, as well as alcohol, caffeine and sugar consumption, illness, pain or fever. Sleep is your recovery mechanism, and you will notice the more restful your sleep, the lower your heart rate when you wake up. Throughout the night as sleep rebuilds your body, your heart rate decreases in small steady increments.