i’ve always been precious about my sleep. that’s because i know what i’m like when i don’t get enough. i pass through the totally unscientific stages of lack of sleep: draggy, bitchy, weepy, delirious, clueless. i also look like sh*t, which eggs on my bad behavior in the bitchy and weepy stages.
beyond these surface reactions to poor sleep lie a raft of more serious health problems, including safety, memory and performance issues. that’s why companies pay attention to sleep, typically offering information and perhaps some coaching or sleep counseling via an EAP or health plan. new tools, like the fitbit, zeo, and larklife, offer additional ways for employees to improve their ZZZZs. these tools track sleep patterns so employees can detect problems and then figure out how to address them. some of the tools go farther than others. the zeo, for example, offers a coaching program that helps you tackle—not simply be aware of—your sleep issues.
i know my sleep depends on my habits. being a parent, i also know my sleep and sanity depend on the quality of my kids’ sleep. that’s why i’m ruthless about bedtime. some of it’s self-serving. when they’re in bed, i’m off duty. and when they’re well rested, there’s a whole lot less yelling going on in the house. but much of my policing of bedtime is because i want them to do well at school and be able to cope with its pressures. when they’re rested, i’m rested. when we’re rested, our cumulative household stress level goes down and our ability to cope and do well goes up.
a zeo or fitbit might be an expensive tool to give a kid to track their sleep habits. a new app from the university of michigan health system and a company called zansors could be more appropriate. the sleep champ app guides parents through a process of evaluating and identifying any sleep issues that typically signal a sleeping or breathing problem. the app provides a sleep score parents can take to their pediatrician, and resources to help them troubleshoot problems on their own.
i’ve let my youngest test the nike fuelband for the last few weeks to see whether it changes her activity level. up next: the sleep champ app.