Everything Post Ratio makes is created with thought and intention, meant to truly enhance our lives—not just fill our spaces. Here, we give you a behind-the-scenes look at how and why we’ve created the Zzzz Sleep Tracking poster, plus insight into how you can best use it.
No matter who you are, what field you work in, or what stage of life you’re at, you know what happens when you don’t get enough sleep: you’re sluggish, distracted, irritable, and worse. This lack of sleep isn’t just an inconvenience; it can cause a range of health problems, from hypertension and diabetes to depression and heart attacks.
Equally alarming, the National Institutes of Health also found that a lack of sleep can cause cognitive and motor impairment equivalent to—or worse than—people with a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.05%. Yes, you read that right. Sleep deprivation can be as dangerous as being drunk. Yet many of us continue on, as sleep deprived as ever. (According to the NIH, 50-70 million Americans suffer from sleeplessness.)
We know firsthand how hard it is to get enough sleep. And, frankly, it’s often our own fault. When it’s time to go to bed, it’s easy to postpone shut eye in favor of another TV episode, an extra half-hour on Instagram, or a million other distractions. The sleep struggle is real, but how do we fix it? By understanding our relationship with sleep, specifically the behaviors and habits that positively or negatively impact our sleep. And how do we do that? Through sleep tracking.
Sleep Tracking: The Answer to Sleep Deprivation
As habits expert Gretchen Rubin says, “You manage what you measure.” Hence, sleep tracking has become a popular way to monitor sleep behavior. Unfortunately, many of the digital sleep tracking tools on the market can inadvertently cause even more sleep trouble, as electronics and bright screens can keep you awake.
That's why we decided to create an analog sleep tracking tool that helps you unplug all the way. Going back to old-school pen and paper, the poster functions as a tactile, real-world anchor to help you monitor and reflect on rest in an intimate way. (It also happens to double as an elegant, artful data visualization.)
To give you greater insight into your sleep life, this poster functions as a one-month “sleep snapshot.” Through data tracking, you can better monitor and understand your sleep patterns, moods, and other variables that contribute to your sleep health and happiness. The ultimate goal is to help you get a better understanding of:
- The amount and quality of sleep you get
- How those variables influence your mood
- How you spend both your sleeping and waking hours
We like to think of this piece as a unique personal project, a month-long meditation on the value of sleep. In fact, we challenge you to commit to it completely. Track your sleep for a month, follow the tips, and see how much better you feel. While it won’t cure all your problems, it’s a useful tool and physical reminder to prioritize your health and live a more balanced life.
How to Use the Sleep Tracking Poster
The sleep tracking poster is designed to help you improve your sleep. Hence, it features a number of ways to track data and improve your habits, including:
Above all, it's a flexible tool that can be used with or without a sleep tracking app. If you’re old school, you can manually track and fill it out each day. If you’re a techie who finds it easier to let a machine do the tracking, you can simply copy your data over and turn it into a beautiful visualization. Feel free to make it as simple or as detailed as you like.
A little more on how to use each section:
The Time Tracker
Presented in a 24-hour cycle, the tracker helps you visualize how you spend your time. It’s an opportunity to monitor both your sleeping and waking hours.
- Nighttime: You can track the amount of time you slept and when you went to bed and woke up. This is especially helpful if you’re trying to regulate your sleep schedule or get to bed by a certain hour. (If you’re visualizing data from a sleep tracker, you can also break that down into REM sleep.)
- Daytime: You can also track additional variables for how you spend your waking hours, specifically those things that you want to spend more time on, less time on, or incorporate into your daily schedule. For example, you might want to spend more time on/with:
- Or you might want to spend less time on:
- Social media
The metrics are up to you.
Sleep Quality Percentage
The tracker helps you visualize not just how much you’re sleeping but how well you’re sleeping. We also included additional space for notes/things you might want to track, such as:
- Time of your last meal (if you’re trying to avoid eating too late)
- Daily intention
- Most important thing you accomplished that day
44 Tips for Better Sleep
If you struggle to get to sleep, the tracker offers a wide range of tips to help you catch your zzzs, broken down into seven categories: Bedroom, Bed, Habits, Routine, Going to Bed, Getting Up, and Health. You can challenge yourself to try one or more tactics a night. Check off what you’ve tried, or annotate what did or didn't work.
8 Reasons to Sleep More
In case you need a reminder of why you’re doing this, these are the benefits of better sleep.
Mood tracking is an incredibly helpful tool to bring clarity to your emotional well-being, especially as it relates to sleep. As such, we included mood trackers for before you go to sleep and when you wake up. This helps you check in with yourself every morning and night.
(If you're ready to start sleep tracking, get your poster here.)
We hope you enjoy the process of creating this personal piece of art. (Oh, and please tag us on Instagram @postratio to show us your progress.)
We also hope you’ll display it proudly as a physical reminder that sleep is the key to rejuvenation, and one of the most important ingredients in a healthy, productive life.
Until then, sleep well.