I wear a Fitbit every day, whether I am sitting still or pushing myself to be active. I feel like it’s important to track things in order to discern behaviour patterns, fix problems, and celebrate successes.
My Fitbit tracks more than just my steps, it also tracks my heart rate and my sleep patterns. The heart rate monitor can provide an early warning signal for bigger issues. If my heart rate suddenly drops or leaps out of the normal range and stays there for a few days, I’m immediately aware something is out of whack and I need to give it my attention to correct the situation. I’ve also been able to monitor my sleep patterns and see how many hours I’m sleeping, how much of my sleep is restorative, how much I am restless and awake, and how much I’m in REM or having dreams.
Rapid eye movement or REM sleep occurs several times in a person’s nightly sleep cycle and it’s when most dreams happen. The average amount of REM sleep per night that women in my peer group get is about 15-25%. I am consistently above average, closer to 30-35% REM nightly. I am consistently within the average range for time spent awake, light sleep, and deep sleep, although on the high end for deep and low end for awake time this month. I don’t know that I get as many hours per night as I should or as other women my age do, because I average around 6 hours per night in the run of a month when you factor in the occasional 9 hour lie in on a Saturday morning with many nights of 4-6 hours rest.
I hadn’t realized I was getting a lot of REM until my best friend and I started comparing our numbers every day. She gets a lot of deep sleep and sleeps more each night than I do. So maybe she is in REM just as long or even longer than I am, but on average she’s on the low side of the average percentile rating.
My high REM score doesn’t mean I wake up exhausted feeling like I’ve been running around dreaming all night. I mean, I do have those kinds of nights, but on average it just feels like a normal amount of dreaming. Some that I remember, many that I forget, some that wake me up and some that don’t. It feels like I dream a lot for sure, but it feels normal … even though the numbers say it’s a bit above normal.
That’s me in a nutshell … just a bit more than one might expect.
Drinking: vanilla chai tea
Listening To: the lonesome whistle of the train
Hair: begging for a shampoo