Tracking Sleep With The WHOOP Band

February 24, 2023

Got a question for you. Be honest. Have you ever had something you really, really REALLY wanted to be intentional with in life? Maybe it was journaling more, working out, getting better sleep, the list could be endless. You get started strong, but before long you get distracted, one thing leads to another, and your good intentions become just that, good intentions. In 2021, Jeremiah and I decided to make sleep a top priority. I talk all about that in Ways We Are Laser Focused With Sleep. I’m happy to report, we have stuck with this good intention for over a year now, and I want to show you the ONE KEY THING today that’s helped us stay laser focused.

We have stuck with this good intention because we found something to hold us accountable and keep it at the forefront of our minds. You know the saying, out of sight out of mind. We found something that educates us. We do better when we know better. When we become better educated on what it is we are pursuing and its benefits, it helps us stick with it. We found something that gives us good hard data. We don’t know what we don’t know. When we can review statistics and numbers that are measured day in and day out, it helps to set us up for success in what we are pursuing.

Alright, time to bring this bad boy to the scene. Are you ready? I present to you, THE WHOOP BAND. (Insert party music, loud cheering, and standing ovations.) I go into the full scope of what the WHOOP Band brings to the table in my post Whoop Whoop for the Whoop Band. I even share how you can get one for free. Score. However, today, I want to do a deep dive into sleep and how Jer and I use this band to help with accountability, knowledge, and specific measurable data. Three ways to help stay laser-focused on this good intention of improving our sleep. 

To begin, let me give you some basic knowledge. The WHOOP Band is a band we wear on our wrists. It measures data 24/7. This information is stored on an app and website where we can review our progress. It’s easy peasy. Looking at the data on the app is part of my morning routine. I can’t think of one morning in over a year I haven’t logged in and analyzed my stats. You put this band on, make sure it stays charged, and review your data. Let me give you a look into what is recorded revolving around sleep, how you analyze it, and how it will help you keep walking the straight and narrow. 

  • It starts by recording when you go to sleep and when you wake up. It just knows. You don’t have to tell it. Your body tells it. 
  • While you are sleeping, it measures your resting heart rate, your respiratory rate, your oxygen saturation, and your body temperature. 
  • Your sleep quality is measured by how long it takes you to drift off to sleep, your wake times during the night, the amount of light sleep you get, deep sleep, and REM sleep. 
  • You need to have a consistent time you go to sleep and wake up. It allows you to see if you are staying within your typical sleep pattern. 
  • The amount of sleep your body needs depends on the amount of strain you put on your body throughout the day. This includes exercise and everyday stress. Each day the app will tell you how much sleep you need to be getting that night, along with a suggested bedtime. You even have an alarm you can set to remind you. 
  • If you take any naps during the day, it will be recorded and factored into the amount of sleep you need that evening. 

Alright, that’s a lot of things being recorded, right? Now that we have this information at our fingertips, what do we do with it? I will fess up; I am a data and numbers junky. I geek out over it a little too much. I could sit and look at stats and spreadsheets all day long. Remember what I said above? We don’t know what we don’t know. This little device allows me a glimpse into many things going on within my body, specifically sleep. Below I will give you a peek into some of my stats so you can see what I’m reviewing daily and how it challenges me to improve. 

Let’s start with Sleep Performance. On this particular day, I achieved 96%. Here you can see I needed 8 hours and 6 mins of sleep. This is based on my strain and any sleep debt that may have piled up through the week. I achieved 7 hours and 48 minutes of sleep. You can also see I had 4 sleep disturbances, which is down from my recent number of 7, looks like it took me 9 minutes to drift off to sleep, which is up from my recent 4 minutes. My time in bed was 8 hours and 40 minutes, which is up from my recent 7 hours and 52 minutes. (Can you see where that number is shown? There’s a green arrow up if improved, and a red arrow down if it’s not improved. The number we are comparing to is the gray number below the larger bold number.)

Brace yourself, this is where the real fun comes to the table. Let’s dive in from the top on the next image you will see below. 

Out of the 7 hours and 48 minutes of sleep, 3 hours and 37 minutes of that was restorative. That is calculated by adding up my REM and deep sleep. If you keep reading, you see that is 42% of my total time in bed and is optimal for healthy, restorative sleep. If these numbers are much lower or off, it will tell you that as well. If you keep reviewing, you can see an overview of my heart rate through the night, (we will come back to that later) you see my awake, light, deep, and REM measurements. If you see the two little gray lines, that represent where the typical range is, and if I stayed within it, or went below or above it. So here I had 52 minutes of awake time (many times you don’t even remember these times, it could be simply tossing and turning). I had 4 hours and 11 minutes of light sleep, 1 hour and 45 minutes of deep sleep, and 1 hour and 52 minutes of REM sleep. 

Let’s look at that data a bit deeper in the next image. If I click on any of those areas titled awake, light, etc in the images above, it will open the images you see below. This is where you can see when those pockets occurred during your sleep. For my awake time, you can see I woke up in the middle of the night and had a hard time falling back to sleep. The wake times at the beginning of my sleep, I probably was unaware I was even waking up. Just a brief stir, and back to sleep. In the other images, you can see when my light sleep occurred, deep sleep, and REM sleep. So cool.

Now let’s look at the Sleep Needed. In the image below, you can see my baseline need, add in recent strain, sleep debt, and naps. I needed more sleep here because I had a pretty high sleep debt. Again, you can click on any of the numbers and it will give you some education on that stat. 

Want to know how you are doing compared to the other days of the week? If you look at the images below, you can see the date range at the top, you can alter that to see previous weeks. It shows your performance percentage for each day, a graph for your sleep need vs what you got, and finally your time in bed. If you would like to see a monthly view, there’s an option for that as well, as seen in the final image. 

Finally, one last piece of data for you. While you are sleeping your resting heart rate and your respiratory rate is being measured. In the graph below you can see a weekly overview of my data on these numbers. The respiratory rate graph below is a good example of a trend to watch for. If you notice, my numbers are trending up. I typically see this if I’m coming down with an illness, or dealing with stressful situations. Typically, if there is an issue, I will see my RHR increase along with my respiratory rate.  

Are you worn out from all these numbers? I know, it’s a lot, but it’s a lot of INSANELY amazing and important information. Let me explain the main ways the WHOOP Band has helped to keep us moving in the right direction with our sleep and what I pay attention to each morning when I review. 

  • I start by viewing my HRV. This is a good indication of how my body is handling strain and rest. A good look into the autonomic nervous system. It’s the main number I’m working to improve. (I will be doing a full post focusing on HRV soon.)
  • I then look at the quality of my sleep. What was my sleep performance percent and the quality broken down into REM and deep sleep specifically? I am wanting to work on my deep sleep and REM. Therefore, I implement many of the things listed in my post Ways We Are Laser Focused On Sleep to help those numbers improve. 
  • I look at my RHR (resting heart rate) and my respiratory rate. If these take an upward spike, it is a good indication I could be coming down with a sickness. I am working on improving my stress throughout the day and various other ways to keep a low RHR. 
  • When I’m reviewing my numbers, I compare my numbers only to myself. It’s so easy to get caught up and compare to others who may be recording their data. The goal is to improve off YOUR baseline, not others. 
  • The WHOOP Band has helped me stay accountable. I know it’s recording when I go to bed, so it truly helps me stay on track.
  • Reviewing the numbers daily helps me set benchmarks I want to hit, and keeps me mindful of those goals.
  •  Because I’m watching my numbers and wanting them to improve, it keeps me researching and educating myself on ways to make them better. 

The WHOOP Band has been one of the best investments in bettering our health and wellness. As you wear it over time, you begin to recognize how your body feels and how that correlates with the data being recorded. You begin to see trends and how certain things like eating a sugary dessert late at night, taking a 5 am flight, or binge-watching a series until 1 am alters your numbers AND how you feel. This helps you say no to the dessert, book a later flight if possible, and keep your bedtime consistent throughout the week. I will say it again, The WHOOP Band has HANDS DOWN been THE BEST investment. 

If you are wanting to snatch one up, you can use my referral link to get one free AND a free month of membership. The fee each month is very small, and you can always cancel if you aren’t liking it. Which, ummmmm, I don’t think will ever be the case. I’m just over here cheering you on as you become laser focused and intentional with bettering your sleep. You’ve got this. I believe in you. Oh, and be sure to check out the WHOOP Band Highlight on my Instagram account. It will help you become better acquainted with your band and the data it records. Game on. 

If you have any specific questions, leave them in the comments. I’m happy to answer them.

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