Many moons ago, I was amused by my partners’ need upon waking to immediately look at his Apple watch sleep statistics. How superfluous this practice was for me, because first and foremost I felt that I knew whether I’d had a good nights’ sleep or not, thinking I could just feel it when I woke up. Secondly, I thought how possibly could any of this information be accurate, other than maybe to measure resting heart rate? Hence, I convinced myself that I didn’t need smart watch. Fast forward a year later when I ate my words after purchasing an Apple watch to help track my Big Sur Marathon training program. I additionally purchased one of the sleep apps that integrates into the built-in health app for $2.99 just to see what all the fuss was about. I had no idea the wealth of health information I was about to uncover. Wearing the watch 24×7, except for charging, I immediately started noticing data in my iPhone’s health affecting both my training and especially what I had poo-pooped before, the sleep statistics.
The sleep app provides heart rate data and breaks down how much deep, restful, and total sleep I had. It combines all that to give me my sleep “score”, from 1-100. Here’s what I found to be true: Experts say that alcohol can disrupt sleep but monitoring it in a sleep app allows you to prove it to yourself in real time. Nights I drank than I could metabolize, say more than 1 glass of wine, caused me to have sleep scores ranging between 50-70%. That’s a C- to an F! My average resting/sleeping heart rate was also elevated, anywhere from 10-20% more than normal!
What was the fix? Refrain from drinking and the sleep scores consistently remained between 90-100%. After seeing this data week after week, month after month, I could start to feel the correlation between the sleep score and how I really felt, meaning I could tell that I wasn’t really in touch with knowing how I slept before wearing the watch.
Over time however, I notice another major factor affecting and disrupting the sleep score and that was eating too close to bedtime. While many people report sleeping better with a snack before bedtime, my own personal observation (and my partners) on the watch showed that each time to close to bedtime, my heart rate would shoot up and I’d sleep poorly, scoring around 60-70%, much like drinking. Wow! What a revelation!
I began a personal experiment and chose to stop snacking a minimum of 3 hours before bedtime to see how it would affect my sleep and resting heart rate. Not only do I score consistently better on the sleep score, but my health app, all thanks to my watch, shows a trend of my resting heart rate dropping a full 10% consistently since I stopped nighttime eating.
My suggestion: get a watch, wear it and learn to use it! In good health,