If you’ve diligently tracked your sleep each night, but come morning, your SleepScore isn’t where you want it to be, you’re not alone — but small changes can get your score moving in the right direction.
Consider this article your quick primer on enhancing your sleep journey by improving your SleepScore.
How is your SleepScore calculated?
Your SleepScore provides a comprehensive, easy-to-understand view of how well you're sleeping. And as the adage goes, what gets measured gets managed. Powered by more than a decade of research and 80 million hours of analyzed sleep, your SleepScore is designed to help you not just understand your sleep but improve it, as a single, easy-to-understand daily sleep-quality metric that’s calculated using sonar technology and our advanced algorithm.
As you sleep, the Sleep.com app monitors your breathing patterns and body movements using sonar technology. Our advanced algorithm analyzes this data based on six criteria: your total time asleep, the time it takes you to fall asleep, the number of times you wake up at night, and the amount of time you spent in light, deep, and REM sleep stages.
To calculate your personalized SleepScore, this data is measured against known sleep averages for your age and gender, which have been established in published research and by analyzing more than 80 million hours of sleep with the app’s algorithm. The result is a daily score that delivers a comprehensive view of how well you slept the night before.
What’s considered a good SleepScore?
The app’s algorithm has analyzed millions of nights of sleep from hundreds of thousands of users to create a baseline for typical, above-average, and below-average SleepScores.
The typical SleepScore across most Sleep.com app users is 78. Scores of 80 and higher are above average, and those under 77 fall below the user average. However, it’s important not to view these labels as a direct reflection of your sleep quality because everyone sleeps differently.
Why is it important to measure sleep?
“After decades of research, scientists are beginning to unravel the widespread physiological and psychological benefits to sleep,” notes Elie Gottlieb, Ph.D., applied sleep scientist at SleepScore Labs. “From immediate daytime benefits in the form of improved mood, creativity, and cognitive performance, to sleep’s ability to stave off chronic health conditions and support the immune system, it’s clear that miraculous things happen to our brain and body when we get sufficient, consistent, and quality sleep — a marker indicated in your SleepScore.”
Like other health-related measures such as your weight, sleep patterns can fluctuate over time for a variety of reasons. While a few below-average SleepScores shouldn’t be a cause for concern, a pattern of consistently low scores could indicate poor sleep quality.
But here’s the good news: Small, simple changes can help you improve your SleepScore and experience sleep’s wellness superpowers, regardless of your starting point.
How can you improve your SleepScore?
Ready to bump up that score? How you sleep at night often comes down to what you do during your day. Enter sleep hygiene. Just like dental or personal hygiene, sleep hygiene is a set of habits that you can easily implement each day to achieve the ideal conditions for optimal sleep. Check out these quick tips to optimize your sleep hygiene morning, noon, and night.
- Open your blinds or head outside for a short walk: While it’s important to limit bright lights at night, sunlight — which is a kind of blue light — in the morning hours can help support your overall mood, alertness, and productivity throughout the day ahead. It also helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
- Enjoy your coffee before mid-day: Consuming caffeine close to bedtime can stimulate your body and keep you awake (It's the same with nicotine). If you’re a coffee drinker, have your cup of joe early to avoid sleep issues later.
- Fit in your exercise session: If you exercise too close to your bedtime, your body may not be fully ready to enter sleep mode when you hit the hay.
- (Re)consider that afternoon catnap: Each of us needs a certain amount of sleep each day to feel our best. That’s why some people can take short afternoon naps and still sleep soundly through the night. If your afternoon nap is making it difficult to fall asleep at night, try cutting out your mid-day siesta. If napping works for you, Gottlieb recommends a 10- to 20-minute snooze to jumpstart your energy and alertness without causing sleep inertia — that dreaded feeling of grogginess after waking up in the middle deep or REM sleep.
- De-stress and unwind: Instead of fixating on the big workday ahead of you, try a quiet activity like reading a book or completing a jigsaw puzzle to help you wind down before bed.
- Dim the lights and limit screentime: Limit the use of electronic devices that emit blue light, which could trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime. Lower the lights throughout your home to make sure your body knows it’s almost bedtime.
- Optimize your room’s temperature: Set your room's temperature to be between 60 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit; 65 is considered optimal for most healthy adults.
- Keep your room quiet and dark: Noise and light can affect your sleep quality, so invest in a white noise machine and/or blackout curtains to help you maintain a sleep-supportive space.
- Establish a consistent bedtime and wake-up time: Make a habit of going to sleep at the same time each night, give or take 20 minutes, and plan to wake up at the same time each morning. This ritual allows your body to predict how much sleep it can expect each night and establish a sleep schedule accordingly.
SleepScore still not budging? Try these tech tips
The right sleep hygiene is key to improving your SleepScore, and it might take a few days with the app to get accustomed to sleep tracking. But if your score still seems inaccurate after three or four consecutive nights of tracking, check the technology issues below.
- If your phone is connected to a Bluetooth device that is re-routing your audio, it could pause your sonar signal all night and result in a 0 SleepScore. Disconnect all Bluetooth devices before starting your sleep session.
- Sound machines, fans, or loud electronics could be too close to your phone, causing interference with the app’s sonar technology. Move devices more than six feet away from your phone and, when possible, lower their volume.
- Your speakers or microphone could be obstructed. Try cleaning your speakers and microphone, and make sure they’re working properly before starting your sleep session.
- Your phone case could be blocking its speakers or microphone, preventing the app’s sonar technology from doing its job. Remove your case and see if that resolves the issue.
- Your smartphone could have become unplugged during a sleep session, causing an incomplete sleep reading. For the most accurate SleepScore, keep your phone plugged in throughout the night.
- Using your phone frequently during a sleep session could result in inaccurate sleep tracking. Limit your phone time once you start your sleep session.
Looking for more information on how electronic devices and phone positioning can affect your sleep tracking? Check out our FAQ hub.
Your personalized sleep journey
No matter your nightly SleepScore, you’ve already taken a powerful first step by exploring your unique sleep patterns. As you dive deeper into your sleep tracking routine, remember to be kind to yourself. When you have a less-than-stellar night of sleep, assess your SleepScore and your lifestyle habits the next morning. Then, make small adjustments to your sleep hygiene and celebrate your progress on the journey to better sleep.
“Improving your sleep starts with one small behavior change at a time,” Gottlieb said. “Tiny daily changes such as limiting bright lights before bed, creating a pre-bed ritual, avoiding caffeine or alcoholic beverages in the late afternoon, or cooling down your bedroom can each have a positive – and quantifiable – effect on your SleepScore, and subsequent health and wellness.”
Want more tips to help you achieve deeper, more restful sleep? Explore the Sleep.com app’s other easy-to-use features, all designed to continually enhance your sleep.