Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I recall reading a paper that found that compared to clinical sleep study equipment (you know, electrodes all over your head) that most devices were random at best in terms of measuring REM sleep. I did a lot of research when a friend went all in on sleep monitoring and wound up worse than when he started (worrying over data).

I didn't exhaustively research but based on un-biased available science I found at the time, any investment (in devices/apps) was not worth time and money. Maybe that has changed.

See https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/17/technology/personaltech/s...

"For a person to be worrying about their sleep stages is like being worried about the gas makeup of the air you're breathing in," he said."

For study see https://nutritionalrevolution.org/2019/07/20/why-the-oura-ri...

""From EBE analysis, ŌURA ring had a 96% sensitivity to detect sleep, and agreement of 65%, 51%, and 61%, in detecting "light sleep" (N1), "deep sleep" (N2 + N3), and REM sleep, respectively. Specificity in detecting wake was 48%."

Specificity in detecting wake was 48%! If this was a medical test, it would never be approved by FDA."

The NYT article summed up reality for most nicely:

"Dr. Vallat told me that if I really wanted to get better sleep, I should simply try to sleep and wake up at the same time every day — that would help my brain learn how to build a structure for optimal sleep. He also advised making the bedroom a cool environment (about 68 degrees) and as dark as possible; avoiding alcohol in the evening; not checking email or social media right before bed; and asking myself each morning when I woke up, "Do I feel refreshed?""

Stop drinking and watching tv/screens and go to bed on time... don't need an expensive ring or watch to tell you this...

I have pretty big doubts about the usefulness of clinical sleep tests after having had one a few years ago. Perhaps they work well for very deep and immediate sleepers. But with the electrodes, a strange location, multiple interruptions, a sleep position I never sleep in, etc, it was probably one of the worst nights of sleep in my life. The doctor seemed to disregard all of that and treat it as my typical night sleep and based the treatment recommendations on it, which is when I realized I needed to seek help elsewhere. I've found other methods like Fitbit come closer to reality since they record the data under normal sleep conditions.

Much of the test interpretation has to do with the correlation of sleep structure to changes in your vitals, I.e., I don’t care if it was the worst night of your sleeping life, if you had X number of apnic events per unit time sleeping, that data is unchanged by the fact that you had trouble sleeping.

> The doctor seemed to disregard all of that and treat it as my typical night sleep and based the treatment recommendations on it

What did the doctor recommend?

She recommended the standard CPAP route. Instead, I chose to lose weight, improve my fitness, and switch to side sleeping. Fortunately that resolved my issues.

Now there are devices for clinical at-home sleep monitoring, say for screening for apnea. Still uncomfortable but at least you are at home.

Unfortunately, it does seem true that most of sleep monitoring devices are not very good (I'm hopeful for the head-mounted ones, but I don't have any data).

But the advice at the end of your post... I'm trying to put it politely - it's insulting rubbish for anyone with moderate to severe sleep issues.

Correct advice, in the absence of actual REM tracking devices, is to go to the doctor - sleep specialist and possibly also a psychiatrist.

A large percentage of the population has sleep issues, suggesting they try the basics is actually very good advice. Much like tech support asking you to restart the device, which verifies it’s plugged in and a host of other issues.

If that’s not working then get a full on sleep study, otherwise save your time and money.

So looks like my randomised sleep times, working until bed, too warm a room, light seeping through, and glass of scotch in the evening 'routine' is not the most ideal.

Definitely need to take that advice on board!

I tried the dark trick, it was marginal at best. compared to social factors (job that suits you, regular schedule etc) it was 0.1%. At that time I could sleep very (if not more) well even with some light and some noise.

since then stopped focusing on this kind of variables

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact