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Tick tock, snooze, repeat: Apple Watch study shows we’re not getting enough Z’s

Do you frequently find it difficult to get enough slumber at night? You are not alone, according to a recent research report by Brigham and Women’s Hospital that used data from a bunch of Apple Watch owners.

The study looked at over 42,000 people and found that only 31% of them met the American Heart Association‘s recommended guidelines for healthy sleep duration and timing. That’s at least 7 hours in case you were wondering, and less than 9.

Shockingly, nearly one in three people get less than 5 hours of sleep on a typical night. The typical bedtime was 11:39 pm, and the average amount of sleep was only 6 hours and 27 minutes.

It is impossible to overstate the value of sleep to our general health and wellbeing. It has an impact on our cardiovascular system, immune system, metabolism, and temperament. Additionally, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease are all made more likely by a lack of sleep.

Interestingly, the study also looked at how sleep patterns vary across different states in the US. It found that people in Idaho got the most sleep, with an average of 7.1 hours per night. Possible explanations for this include lower population density, outdoor lifestyle, higher elevation, and cultural factors.

For some reason people in West Virginia got the least, with an average of a mere 5.9 hours. West Virgina has higher rates of shift work than the national avarege, as well as poverty, chronic health conditions, lack of access to healthcare, and environmental factors like air and noise pollution. It is likely that a combination of these contribute to why people in West Virginia get the least amount of sleep.

Technology can help to improve sleep habits

Fortunately, technology can help us improve our sleep habits. The Apple Watch is one such device that can help users track their nightly rest and provide feedback and suggestions to improve sleep quality. Users can set bedtime reminders, wake-up alarms, there’s a do not disturb mode, and wind-down routines on their watch.

Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets

In fact, another study using data from the Apple Watch revealed that the gadget uses a deep learning algorithm called DeepHeart to identify sleep apnea and high blood pressure with 90% accuracy. So, if you’re committed to getting better slumber, getting an Apple Watch might be a wise choice.

Moreover, if you want to contribute to research on sleep and heart health, you can join the Apple Heart and Movement Study. This is a large-scale research project that aims to understand how physical activity and other health behaviors affect heart health over time. The data for this sleep research actually came from this study.

You can sign up for the Apple Heart and Movement project through the Research app on your iPhone or iPad. Still plenty of time as it is not due to conclude until 2024.

Sleep well!

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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