How do you know if you’ve been collecting quality sleep? According to The Huffington Post, it’s much easier to figure out many hours you sleep each night and the quality of that snooze with the help of a sleep tracking device, but without them your perception is all you have to rely on.
Just last week, the news site shared valuable information from an interview with Dr. Kristen L. Knuston, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Medicine, regarding why we can’t accurately recall how we’ve slept.
Citing a small study published in the American Journal of Physiology and conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, Dr. Knuston explained that your judgment of your sleep quality can be influenced by your mood. If you are having a bad day, you may blame your sleep, while on the other hand, if you feel great, you’ll have a more positive view of your snooze.
The study included 8 participants, who slept only four hours each night. Some of the participants said they felt miserable, while others claimed to feel perfectly fine. Nonetheless, the cognitive testing results showed that all of the participants were impaired with poor performances across the board.
“If we take someone into our laboratory and we put them in bed and hook them up to a sleep machine and send noise signals throughout the night, we watch their brain waves and know they’re waking up briefly,” explained Knutson. “But when you ask them the next day, they don’t remember a lot of those awakenings.”
Dr. Knuston also shared that your circadian rhythm can trick you into feeling fine as it naturally increases your alertness upon waking up until early evening hours.
One of the consequences of not knowing how you’ve slept is drowsy driving. When you are constantly sleep deprived, it’s easy to forget what good rest feels like and you won’t recognize any signs you need more sleep. Dr. Knuston advises that we all consider the benefits of sleep trackers to help us pay attention our shut-eye as we simply cannot recall everything that happens throughout the night.