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Everything You Want to Know About Sleep & Tracking It with WHOOP

March 18, 2022

In honor of World Sleep Day, we’ve compiled a “Sleep 101” of our most insightful content on the subject.



Sleep Basics

On average, WHOOP members get slightly more than 7 hours of sleep per night. However, they also average close to 8 hours in bed.

Learn More: Sleep Averages by Age, Gender, Day of Week & More

One of the first things people usually notice when they start tracking their sleep is that they’re not really getting as much as they thought they were. The percentage of time you spend in bed actually asleep is known as your sleep efficiency. Below are some behaviors we’ve found that increase and decrease WHOOP members’ sleep efficiency:

what impacts sleep efficiency

Behaviors that positively and negatively Affect WHOOP members’ sleep efficiency.

Many people have poor sleep efficiency because they often struggle to fall asleep. The time it takes you to fall asleep is called your sleep latency.

Learn More: 28 Techniques to Fall Asleep Fast


Sleep Stages

There are 4 stages of sleep that make up your nightly sleep cycles:

  1. Awake
  2. Light sleep
  3. Deep sleep or SWS (slow wave sleep)
  4. REM sleep

Here’s a breakdown of the average time WHOOP members spend in each stage:

average sleep stage times

Norms for how much time WHOOP members spend in each sleep stage.

Deep and REM sleep are the two restorative stages of sleep where your body and mind heal and repair themselves. However, they each have different characteristics and functions.

Learn More: How to Increase Deep Sleep
Learn More: How to Increase REM Sleep

“Awake” is included as a sleep stage because it is natural to experience a number of disturbances (also referred to as wake events) throughout the night–brief periods of time spent awake that you aren’t even conscious of.

whoop app sleep time awake

WHOOP tracks your disturbances (Wake events) throughout the night and time spent awake during sleep.

Learn More: How Light Sleepers Can Decrease Disturbances & Get More Sleep


Sleep Need

People don’t always need 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep needs vary from person to person, and from night to night.

Learn More: 12 Sleep Myths Debunked, One That May Be True

Based on your previous sleep and what you do during the day, the WHOOP Sleep Coach calculates exactly how much sleep your body needs each night.

Learn More: Factors That Affect Your Personal Sleep Need

Here are just a few of the many reasons why it’s important to get enough sleep:


Sleep Debt

When you fail to meet your sleep need, you begin to accumulate sleep debt. If you build up too much sleep debt, you become sleep deprived.

whoop app tracks sleep debt

The WHOOP Sleep Coach calculates your sleep debt and factors it into your nightly sleep need.

A great method for avoiding sleep debt is to nap during the day if you have the chance. Naps of certain lengths can be beneficial in various ways.

Learn More: The Ideal Sleep Playbook – Managing Sleep Debt with WHOOP


Sleep Consistency

Your body has a 24-hour internal clock called your circadian rhythm. Going to bed and waking up at similar times each day helps regulate it and improves the quality of your sleep. We refer to this as sleep consistency.

Learn More: How to Reset Your Circadian Rhythm & Fix Your Sleep Schedule
Learn More: Tips for Combating Circadian Rhythm Disorder

We’ve found that as sleep consistency increases, so does your sleep efficiency:

Greater sleep consistency improves sleep efficiency.

Sleep Better

Beyond sleep consistency, there are a great deal of other things you can do to optimize your sleep–from locking in your bedtime routine, to creating the perfect sleep environment.

Learn More: 5 Easy Ways to Sleep Better
Learn More: 45 Sleep Tips from the Top Sleepers on WHOOP

One simple option you may like to try is wearing a sleep mask, which we’ve discovered has a very positive effect on our members’ sleep data:

sleep mask improves sleep

Wearing a sleep mask Boosts WHOOP members’ time asleep, percentage of REM sleep, and next-day recovery.

Additionally, we’ve also examined how both melatonin and magnesium supplements can help your sleep.

On the other hand, eating before bed tends to negatively affect it, and drinking alcohol close to bedtime is extremely detrimental for your sleep:

alcohols impact on sleeping HR

Alcohol significantly increases your sleeping heart rate.

Sleep Podcasts

Here are some of our most popular podcast episodes about sleep:

No. 14: Understanding Sleep & Why You Should Track It
No. 17: The Circadian Rhythm Sleep Hack
No. 55: How Sleep Impacts Performance
No. 57: Naps–Your Greatest Recovery Amplifier
No. 131: Stress, Sleep & Cognitive Functioning
No. 145: The Science of Sleep with Dr. Meeta Singh
No. 164: Dr. Allison Brager on Health Effects of Sleep Deprivation


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