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Are you certain that your sleep patterns are healthy? How do you know you’re getting enough sleep each week or each month? How much sleep are you losing by staying up later than you should? Are you getting it back on later on?

Sleep Tracker is a simple tool that can help you stay on top of your sleep routines. Successful entrepreneurs, athletes and people concerned with their health are using similar tools to ensure their sleep habits are taken care of. Use this tool daily and it will help you be certain that your body and mind are getting enough restorative sleep.

You can access it for free here.

Why do you need a Sleep Tracker?

It’s the cornerstone of a healthy sleep routine.

Every successful routine needs its backbone – one action that helps you stay consistent. It only takes 30 seconds to update the Sleep Tracker daily, yet that simple action will direct your attention to your sleep hygiene habits at large, helping you become healthier, happier and more productive.

It helps you maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

Sleep is an event that your body prepares for up to 2 – 3 hours before the onset of sleep. An irregular sleep schedule decreases your quality of sleep, which in turn affects your health, productivity and emotional stability.

It shows you when you’re not getting enough sleep.

We evolved to require 8 hours of sleep per day (often broken down to 7.5 hours at night and 0.5 h nap in the afternoon). Anything below that threshold means you’re sleep deprived, which has a negative impact on your health.

Although one day of too little rest won’t affect you too much, an extended period of undersleeping will. This is where the tracker comes in handy. You can use it to see the periodic trends broken down into weeks and months and be better informed about your own sleep patterns and whether you’re getting enough rest or not.

Step 1: Keep it visible.

In order to stay consistent you need to create a lot of opportunities to use your tracker.

1. Keep your Sleep Tracker tab open in your browser at all times.

2. Add a bookmark for quick access in case you close it.

3. Pin it to your browser so it’ll always open with any new window.

Step 2: Use it Everyday

Update your tracker daily, preferably in the morning right after waking up. It takes 30 seconds to type in the 3 numbers. Do it as early as you can so you won’t forget your times.

For the algorithm to work, type in the times in a European 24h standard. 

The tricky part is the post-midnight hours.

Input midnight as 24:00

1am input as 25:00

1:30am as 25:30

2am as 26:00 and so on…

1. Red band is for the time you went to sleep on the previous day.

2. Blue band is for the time you woke up this morning.

3. Green band is the time difference between the two, i.e. how long you spent asleep.

4. Your week’s average will be updated automatically.

Step 3: Watch your averages.

One night of poor sleep won’t affect your health too much. However, what you should be concerned about is the general trend of your sleep habits.

Your weekly and monthly averages are here to help you stay on top of your sleep game.

Use the red Average Sleep Time and the blue Average Wake Up Time as your daily deadlines – always try to go to sleep and wake up before these times.

When you adopt this practice as a daily habit, your sleep deadlines will naturally start getting earlier and you’ll find yourself going to sleep and waking up earlier as part of your lifestyle.

However, don’t neglect your Average Sleep Duration as it shows you if you’re getting enough sleep. Make sure the number doesn’t fall under 7 hours.

Step 4: Daily sleep corrections.

Human life is unpredictable and there will be many instances when you won’t be able to get a full 8 hour sleep. That’s fine as long as you remember to run a sleep correction the night or two after the event.

This is where the Sleep Tracker becomes an invaluable resource because it will show you when you need a correction and for how long.

In this example I went to bed at 1:30 am on Thursday after celebrating my friend’s birthday. Then, the next morning I had to wake up at 7:30 am for work.

After typing in all the data I saw that I only slept 6 hours the previous night (1.) and knew that my body would be desperate to regain that lost sleep as soon as possible.

This helped me plan my day, knowing that I need to go to sleep an hour earlier than usual (2.) and, without using an alarm, allow my body to fully recover (3.).

I planned my recovery for the next day, but if I decided to go out again on Friday and further decrease my total sleep that week, using the Tracker would show me just how much sleep I lost that week and help me plan my recovery for the subsequent two or three nights.

Why do you need to plan a sleep recovery?

You’ll be fatigued for multiple days after.

Remember, eight hours of sleep is essential for your body to work at its best. When you’re well rested, your mind is sharp, you’re full of energy, you feel ready for whatever life throws at you.

When you sleep below the 8 hour threshold (especially on subsequent occasions) and neglect your recovery, you’ll feel less than optimum without an apparent reason for the next couple of days.

If you continue this week after week, being chronically tired will become your baseline state.

You’ll be in control of the repayment of your sleep debt.

When you’ve lost an hour or two of sleep one night, your body will force you to repay that debt. It will happen sooner or later and most likely at a time when you least expect it.

One night you’ll forget to set an alarm and you’ll oversleep for work the next day or you’ll plan a movie night with your partner only to find yourself sound asleep after the first 15 minutes.

Most likely, you’ll simply feel tired all the time and pump yourself with coffee to stay awake and finish your workload.

Planning your recovery is being proactive about your sleep patterns and allowing your body to recover so that the rest of your life isn’t affected by it. Plus, ‘letting your body have its way’ literally means being healthier and more emotionally stable.

Step 5: Understand yourself.

The sleep tracker might reveal to yourself something about you that you would have otherwise been unaware of.

It shows you your exact sleep times and how much of a ‘night owl’ or an ‘early lark’ you really are.

After months of usage, it will tell you how much sleep you physically need. Remember, everyone is different. The 8 hour mark is an average, and when it comes to human biology that’s an average between 7 and 9 hours. Some people need closer to 7, some closer to 9, others require 8 hours on the dot.

Unless you start tracking your sleep habits daily, you will never know where you stand on this evolutionary spectrum.

Finally, in the last tab, I’ve included this Year’s Summary. 

The data from this tab may not have an impact on your daily habits, but it’s a fun way of zooming out and seeing your sleep patterns on a large scale and how they change over the course of multiple months.

You can see which were your “good” months and whether your patterns change with the seasons or significant events in your life.

Perhaps you’ll gain one or two surprising insights.

Final advice: Use a safety alarm.

For the Tracker and your sleep habits to work their best, you should stop waking up to an alarm clock.

Our bodies require 8 hours of sleep on average. However, on a daily basis your total amount of required sleep will fluctuate.

The amount of sleep your body requires is determined by what you did the day prior. For example, if you exercised at the gym or exerted yourself playing sports, your body will likely need an extra 30 – 60 minutes of sleep recovery.

Likewise, if you’ve had a long study session or performed a long task that required a lot of focus, your body will likely need extra sleep to recover your mental faculties.

Instead of setting an alarm each day, create a safety alarm which will wake you up at the last possible moment for you to get ready to start your day.

For me this means skipping breakfast, exercise and even meditation, quickly brushing my teeth, showering, putting on some clothes and leaving my apartment.

When you go to sleep at a normal time but wake up with your safety alarm, this indicates that your body needed extra rest (and likely still needs more), which means an afternoon nap should be in place.

If you wake up to your safety alarm for 2 – 3 days in a row, it means there is something your body is processing (perhaps a nascent infection) and you’ll have to push back on your sleep time to allow it extra recovery time.

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