* It automatically calculates what time you need to go to bed if you're running a sleep deficit. (And it calculates how much of a sleep deficit or surplus you have.)
* Most useful of all, it gives me at least 1-2 days of early warning that I might be running a fever or flu - as I see my heart rate, which is usually quite consistent from night to night, leap 5 or 6 BPM over consecutive days.
This is especially important to know during the current outbreak. I can then do whatever I need to do early to shorten the length of whatever illness I might have (take vitamins/extra rest/fluids/etc.)
It also records a history, so you have a record of roughly when the fever starts and ends based on your heart rate, which you can then share with your doctor if necessary.
Basically the main things were:
- Avoiding alcohol at night entirely (and no more than 1 if it was a social event I felt like drinking at)
- Running for at least 3 miles at about 70-80% max heart rate (or shorter distances with higher intensity) guarantees a night of at least 2.5 hours of deep sleep and up to 3.5 according to the app. Otherwise I average around 1 hour of deep sleep on a normal day.
- I'm a type 1 diabetic so sleeping with my blood sugar at around 80 mg/dL means I get a full night of restful sleep. When I'm above 120 mg/dL I start losing quality sleep, and above 200 mg/dL I get no deep sleep and low amounts of quality sleep with a higher heart rate.
All these things before the app I had a gut feeling they were minor impacts on my sleep, but turns out they were incredibly impactful. Looking back at my time in college makes me wonder sometimes how much knowledge I didn't retain or learn due to poor sleep and health habits. Hindsight is 20/20 though.