The health tracking movement is a growing trend with millions of devices sold each year. These health and fitness gadgets are used to measure your steps, heart rate, calories burned and even your sleep. Since, sleep is vital and has a major impact on your overall health, there is value in tracking your sleep patterns and measuring the amount of quality sleep you get nightly.

How Important Is Sleep?

Every year, almost 40 million Americans suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, with an additional 20 million Americans experiencing occasional sleep problems.

Linked to chronic illnesses like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, it’s estimated that sleep loss is associated with $16 billion in annual medical costs. Here are other ways lack of sleep affects your well-being:

  • Interferes with work and school
  • Harms concentration, reaction time and memory
  • Effects mood and mental states
  • Impacts your metabolism negatively
  • Increases risk for drowsy driving and car accidents
  • Suppresses the immune system

Bringing Back Bedtime

Some sleep tracking apps let you journal your sleep experience. Tracking apps allow you to include a note or tag, either before bed or once you wake up, noting what is or isn’t working for you. This can be a useful tool to learn what enhances your sleep.

One important part of your body’s transition to sleep is your bedtime routine. Think of your bedtime routine as your signal to your mind and body that it’s time to settle in for bed. Some calming activities that can help you transition to sleep include:

  • Listening to quiet music
  • Turning off the TV and electronic devices
  • Creating a cool, dark and quiet environment

Another good routine is waking up when your alarm sounds and not hitting snooze. Know that while sleep tracking can be a useful learning tool, working with your doctor and participating in a sleep study is your best personal guide for healthy sleep.

Sleep Study – Learn About Your Sleep

The quality of the sleep you get is just as important and the quantity. Whether you settle for a measly four to six hours of sleep or get seven to nine hours, the following are common sleep related problems:

  • Snoring
  • Sore jaw in the morning
  • Morning headaches
  • Aches or tingly sensations in your legs

With more than 70 sleep disorders, the only way to be diagnosed is with a sleep study.

A polysomnogram, otherwise known as a sleep study, is a test that diagnoses a sleep disorder by recording your brain waves, heart rate, breathing, oxygen levels in your blood, as well as eye and leg movement. A sleep study can be completed at a sleep center or at home. Sleep studies are generally completed in the evening to determine how sleep is affecting your body.

The Long Beach Adult & Pediatric Sleep Center at Long Beach Memorial is a leader in sleep disorder diagnoses and treatment management. The MemorialCare Sleep Disorders Center at Long Beach Medical Center and Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach offers a variety of testing options, including home sleep apnea testing. Call (877) 696-3622.