Tracking your sleep can be an effective way to understand the links between lifestyle and health.
Android users have access to a powerful, cheap app that combines a sleep diary with motion data recorded from your phone or smartwatch. In addition, the app includes a smart alarm clock that can reduce the feeling of grogginess upon waking.
Update: This article now has an Apple Watch counterpart.
Sleep tracking apps use motion to figure out what phase of sleep you are in. Both phones and smartwatches have accelerometers that can measure motion, and both can be used to track sleep. But people report more accurate tracking with a watch.
Fortunately for Android users, a capable Android Wear smartwatch can be purchased on eBay for less than $100. Basically any Android Wear watch will work, but you should look for one that has been updated to Android Wear 2.0.
Despite a terrible name, Sleep as Android is the most powerful sleep tracking tool on Android devices. It uses your smartwatch or phone to record motion data. For each night of sleep, the app displays detailed statistics and graphs alongside your notes.
In addition, Sleep as Android can serve as a smart alarm clock. It will wake you up within a preset period before your alarm setting, such as 30 minutes, if it senses you are in a light sleep state.
This can reduce the groggy feeling you experience after waking up from a deep sleep state. If you need to use an alarm clock to wake up, this is the way to go.
If you’re skeptical about the benefits of a smart alarm clock, check out this study run by the Sleep as Android creators.
Sleep tracking is easy to enable, either from the phone app or from the watch itself. For more info on how to set up and operate Sleep as Android, refer to my video or the Sleep as Android documentation.
Make It Work for You
Sleep is personal. I might be an early bird who can’t handle coffee after 2 PM. You might be a night owl who is unaffected by a glass of wine. Different people thrive on different sleep schedules and habits.
After each sleep tracking session, take a moment to rate your sleep on the 1-to-5 scale. Record any notes, like what you ate, drank, or did the day prior that you think might affect your sleep.
Over time, you’ll accumulate more data on what contributes to and what hinders a good night of sleep.
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P.S. See my iOS sleep tracking article!