Scientists are still learning more about why we sleep, but they know that a good night’s sleep can boost your mood and improve overall health.
We’ve got some pro tips for better rest in our conversation with sleep expert Dr. Eti Ben Simon below, but first, here are a few things you should know. Getting better sleep starts with understanding how much and how well you’ve slept.
That’s where Sleep Sensing on
You have other options for tracking your sleep, too: If you already have a
The pros say that good sleep can elevate your mood, help you think clearly, and even lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Eti Ben Simon, a research scientist at the Center for Human Sleep Science at the University of California, Berkeley, studies why we sleep and what happens to our bodies when we don’t get enough. We spoke with Dr. Ben Simon about the importance of sleep and how tracking it can help you wake up feeling well-rested.
Well, that’s the million-dollar question. We don’t know of any species that don’t sleep, but we do know that it is essential to life. Every system in the body that we’ve studied is affected by lack of sleep. Everything from your mood and your ability to process new information, to your insulin levels and risk of cardiovascular disease changes if you don’t get enough sleep. Good sleep is something you should embrace as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Three of the most relevant dimensions of good sleep are duration, quality, and timing. The amount of time you need to sleep varies by individual and age, and the National Sleep Foundation recognizes that for midlife adults, six to ten hours may be appropriate. Most professional organizations recommend allowing at least seven hours to get the sleep you need on a regular basis.
Then there’s quality. When you’re in bed, are you actually sleeping or are you tossing and turning? How many times do you wake up? Good sleep is when you wake up refreshed and have spent most of your time in bed asleep.
Finally, a healthy sleep pattern isn’t just about how much quality sleep you get, but also when and how consistently you get it. Making sure to set aside enough time each day to get the sleep you need on a regular basis is key to strengthening your sleep drives, so they can help you achieve optimal sleep and wake function everyday.
Yes, as well as your state of mind – it all affects your sleep. Stress is a strong enemy of sleep, as is a lack of routine. Stress puts your body into “fight or flight” mode, but good sleep requires you to be in “rest or digest” mode. For the hour before bed, try to do things that relax you, like a guided meditation or reading. When it comes to physical factors, you want to keep your bedroom dark and cool, or whatever is most comfortable for you.
If you have the ability to monitor the temperature, you should do that. Trackers can help you be your own scientist, in a sense, helping figure out areas where you might be able to optimize your sleep. Once you know the cause, you can work on fixing it – maybe your blanket is too hot, or maybe you should cool your room before you go to sleep.
If you find yourself awake for 20 or 30 minutes and you feel like it’s just not happening, leave the bed and go to a different room that’s quiet and dark, and do something relaxing. Anything that you’d do for your regular sleep routine – meditation, reading, writing – anything that helps you calm down.
And if you’re not sure whether your sleep is in line with Dr. Ben Simon’s tips, use a
See how Sleep Sensing on the Nest Hub (2nd gen) from Google works
Enjoy a preview of Sleep Sensing at no extra cost through 2023. In 2024, Google plans to integrate Sleep Sensing into Fitbit Premium (currently $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year, subject to change and may vary by country). Learn more at
g.co/sleepsensing/preview. Features are subject to your permissions and settings. They use motion, sound, and other device and sensor data to work and require placing the device close to the bed and calibrating the device for your sleeping position. Google Assistant, Google Fit app and other Google apps may be required for full functionality. Device placement and nearby people, pets, or noises can cause inaccurate readings.
Sleep Sensing is not intended to diagnose, cure, mitigate, prevent or treat any disease or condition. Consult your healthcare professional for questions about your health. Device placement and nearby people, pets, or noises can cause inaccurate readings.
Some features may require Fitbit account, mobile app and Fitbit Premium membership. Not intended for medical purposes. Consult your healthcare professional for questions about your health.