Each night you sleep on the Pod, the Pod’s technology measures your sleep data to determine a personalized Sleep Fitness Score. This score serves as an indicator of sleep health and makes it easy to monitor sleep quality.
Interested in learning more about Sleep Fitness and how to achieve a perfect 100 Sleep Fitness Score? We’ll break down the definition of Sleep Fitness and give you 8 tips to help you get the perfect score.
Research and science have long suggested that your overall health and wellness rests on three pillars: nutrition, exercise, and sleep. The importance of nutrition and exercise have become so omnipresent in our everyday lives that we feel pressure to maintain health in both areas.
With sleep, there is a different story entirely. As a society, we’ve grown to expect more from our waking hours. In fact, people are sleeping less now than at any time in the last century. Research shows that Americans average just 6.8 hours of sleep per night, down more than an hour since 1942.
At Eight Sleep, we are working to change the conversation around sleep entirely. We want to help people realize that sleep should be viewed as an activity with enormous power to improve the quality of the human experience.
So we introduced a new term: Sleep Fitness. It’s a state of overall health and well-being fueled by quality sleep. Being sleep fit results in a feeling of restoration, elevated energy levels, and confidence. Dr. Philip Gerhman, Assistant Professor in Department of Psychiatry at University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine and member of Eight Sleep’s Scientific Advisory Board, defines Sleep Fitness as the following:
“Sleep Fitness is the extent to which we are getting sufficient quantity and quality of sleep to be energized and functioning at peak levels during the day.”
Eight Sleep products give you everything you need to get sleep fit. Our main products, the Pod and Pod Pro give you indications of how sleep fit you are via a daily Sleep Fitness Score. A Sleep Fitness Score is a score out of 100 that informs how your sleep hygiene drives recovery so you can make better choices during the day and adjust your routine. When sleeping on the Pod, you receive a Sleep Fitness Score every morning in the free app that comes with your Pod purchase.
Generally, a Sleep Fitness Score between 90-100 is considered excellent. A score between 70-90 is considered good, and anything below 70 indicates that you need to prioritize quality sleep more.
Image: Different Sleep Fitness Scores. Source: Eight Sleep
There are 4 key factors that can cause a high or low Sleep Fitness Score:
Each factor has a different weight in the Sleep Fitness Score calculation (calculated by an AI-engine), depending on its level of impact. As the Pod learns more about your individual sleep behavior, it leverages additional metrics such as toss and turn variation to continuously fine-tune your score.
Achieving an excellent Sleep Fitness Score can be challenging. It’s something you have to continuously focus on and work for, just like most people do for regular fitness and eating healthy.
Grayson Murphy, World Mountain Running Champion, strives for an excellent Sleep Fitness Score every night. She very well understands the importance of quality sleep for her as an athlete. She prioritizes sleep for optimal performance and recovery. Grayson recently talked to us about her Sleep Fitness Score:
“I've gotten a hundred several times. I’m very proud of my sleep scores. I don't know what [my] average is. Probably in the nineties somewhere.”
Our Eight Sleep Members also do a great job at striving for an excellent Sleep Fitness Score every night. 46% (around 4,200 people) of our members achieve at least one excellent Sleep Fitness Score per month.
With the lens of Sleep Fitness, we turn sleep into something that is not only measurable, but also actionable and achievable. Apart from focussing on the 4 key factors that influence Sleep Fitness Score, there are certain other actions that will help you become sleep fit. Here are 8 tips to help you get a perfect Sleep Fitness Score.
Controlling temperature is key to achieving Sleep Fitness. In fact, literature shows that thermal environment has one of the biggest impacts on human sleep. Research links a rapid decline in core body temperature to an increased possibility of sleep initiation and sleep maintenance. Further, this drop in body temperature may also enable the brain to more easily enter the deeper stages of sleep. Sleeping in a cooler environment has even been shown to prevent certain types of insomnia. So, sleep in a cooler environment to fall asleep faster and achieve larger quantities of REM and deep sleep.
The technology behind the Pod is designed to learn and respond to your body’s temperature needs. The hydro-cooling technology can heat and cool each side of the bed from 55 to 110 °F.
According to Dr. Robert Stickgold, Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and also a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, environmental factors including “Having a good mattress, creating a quiet environment and controlling light exposure” can influence Sleep Fitness.
In particular, blue light emitted by screens can impact your sleep quality and therefore your Sleep Fitness Score. In fact, studies have demonstrated that exposure to blue wave light, from cell phones, computers, or tablets, may suppress the production of melatonin in the brain for twice as long as other light, from the sun or a lamp. The National Sleep Foundation recommends turning off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime, and if you have to engage with a screen throughout the day or late at night, make sure you’re filtering out blue light.
The connection between mental state and sleep is well documented, with research demonstrating that relaxation practices such as meditation are an effective treatment for insomnia. How do you disconnect your mind before sleep? Dr. Gerhman shares a few tips: “Writing down a to-do list before going to sleep, practicing deep breathing, meditation, light reading, listening to music or anything else that gives you the opportunity to physically and mentally unwind before bedtime is really healthy”.
Research shows that exercise during the day links to faster sleep and overall improved sleep quality. Regular exercise regulates body temperature, alleviates stress, and helps establish a routine, which all ultimately leads to better sleep. The downside of exercise is that if done too close to bedtime, it also has the potential to keep your central nervous system in a state of activity, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. To find out whether it’s better for you to exercise in the morning or at night, try to exercise during different times of the day and see what effect it has on your Sleep Fitness Score.
Keeping a consistent bedtime and sleep duration increases overall sleep efficiency and quality. People tend to work long hours and stay up late during the weekdays and then try to catch up on sleep by sleeping in on the weekends. This is not an effective way to improve Sleep Fitness, as the practice throws off the regularity needed to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm. Maintain a consistent routine to help your body and brain to recognize it’s bedtime/time to wake up.
A major factor that keeps people from being sleep fit is that they simply don’t make enough time to sleep. Dr. Stickgold explains: “You can only sleep as many hours as you allow yourself. People are bad at knowing how many hours of sleep they are getting, which naturally makes it hard to benchmark any improvement.” Give yourself enough ‘sleep opportunity’ to achieve Sleep Fitness. For people between the ages of 18 to 65, this sleep opportunity window should be between 7 to 9 hours.
Having an evening drink or smoking a cigarette at night combats sleep and prevents you from having a restful slumber. Research shows that you should cut back on nicotine and alcohol at least 4 hours before going to bed. Interestly enough, this rule doesn’t apply for caffeine. A 2019 study has found little correlation between coffee consumption within four hours of going to bed and sleep difficulties. Martin Reed, a certified clinical sleep health educator, illustrates: As confirmed in this research, caffeine actually has less of an effect on our sleep than many people worry about. As long as you don’t drink pitchers and pitchers of coffee just before bed, caffeine is unlikely to have a major negative impact on sleep.”
If you can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes, get out of bed and go to another room to do a relaxing activity such as taking a bath, reading, or listening to music. When you start to feel sleepy, you can return to bed. Repeat this process if you still can’t fall asleep after 30 minutes.
Why? If you spend a lot of time lying awake in your bed, you are likely to create an unhealthy link between your sleeping environment and wakefulness. You want your brain to associate your bed with the feeling of sleep, and not being awake.