One thing I am continually striving to do in 2016 is increase my productivity. I’m sure we can all relate to the frustration of only having so many hours in a day and not being able to fit in everything we want to do each day. Alongside my full time job, I want to maintain my blog, keep up with my part time proofreading course, exercise, cook healthy meals from scratch each day and have a couple of hours in the evening to relax, read a book and socialise. It’s pretty much impossible to do all of that with the way I currently work, so the answer is to just work smarter rather than faster. I need to become more productive in the time that I do have.
There are many ways to become more productive, and one of these is to just sleep better. It’s a simple solution that many of us overlook. The daily consequences of too little sleep can be struggling to focus and stay alert, having difficulty making decisions and taking longer to finish tasks. Those are definitely trends I recognise when I’ve been burning the candle at both ends and not paying enough attention to the amount of sleep I’ve been getting.
I’ve been lucky enough to trial the new S+ sleep tracker from ResMed, a cloud-hosted Sleep Mentor system. The S+ comprises a sleek device that sits beside the bed, and a free mobile app that works for both Apple iOS and Android. The bedside device uses a respiratory and biomotion sensor to measure and analyse sleep stages. It records the movements you make when you breathe in and out, and overall body movements such as position changes, arm twitches and shrugs. After tracking you in your sleep overnight, the device sends a report directly to your phone app, delivering a sleep score, a sleep chart and personalised feedback and suggestions about how you can improve your sleep. Incredibly, it provides a breakdown of how your night has unfolded, pinpointing the onset of sleep and tracking the cycles of light, deep and REM sleep, to not only provide you with input on the quantity of sleep you had but also the quality.
One thing I particularly love about the S+ is that it is able to monitor you wirelessly, so you don’t need to wear any kind of wristband or electrode. You just put the device next to your bed. It has a really sleek, modern design too which is lightweight and unobtrusive.
Before bed, you need to open the app to prepare it to record you as you sleep that night. You will answer a short quiz about your day: how stressed you were, and how much caffeine, alcohol and exercise you’ve had. You can either go straight to sleep, or choose from a variety of soothing sounds that will help you relax. They synchronise to your breathing pattern to relax you faster. It fades away once you fall sleep. You can also set an alarm that can slowly wake you up in the morning over the timespan of your choice.
If, like me, you find yourself awake at several points in the night going over and over things that you need to do or that suddenly occur to you, there’s a great option for either typing some notes quickly into the app or speaking in to it. The app will play your voice message back to you in the morning, so you no longer need to panic that you are going to lose the sudden flash of inspiration that came to you at 3am.
Once you awake from your hopefully refreshing sleep, the S+ notices and your full report is available in the app. You get a sleep score: my first night’s score was 65 and I had 10 disruptions to sleep, which I’d have had no idea about the next morning otherwise. My report told me that I had consumed a lot of caffeine the day before and that I should consider not drinking any after 2pm because caffeine stays in the bloodstream for 3 – 7 hours after consumption. The next day I drank a lot less and had a much higher score. The S+ also monitors light, temperature and noise levels in the room, and will be able to tell you how these impacted on your sleep.
I’m really enjoying using the S+ as it’s giving me an otherwise unavailable insight in to how I sleep. I had not thought that less than 6 hours sleep a night (and interrupted sleep at that) might be causing me to work more slowly during the day, which has been a source of growing frustration for me. Since I’ve been using the S+ I’ve been much more aware of the impact of a better night’s sleep on my daytime productivity and alertness. I am working faster, smarter and harder than before and feel I am able to tackle some tasks I had been putting off because I just couldn’t fit them in to my free hours. I have more strength when exercising and my morning bike ride to work has actually been faster than ever. It’s also been a lot of fun getting my sleep report each morning, as I’ve been challenging myself to do better each night.
According to ResMed, one in three people in the UK regularly suffers from poor sleep and has problems with their daytime functioning because of this. There are also some scary consequences of poor sleep in the long term, including increased risk of certain diseases, mental health problems and even a shortened life span. It’s amazing how underrated good quality sleep really is.
The S+ from ResMed is launched in the UK on March 22nd 2016 at a retail price of £129.99. Find out more here.
Do you think the S+ could benefit you?
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