Yorktown Cycles News — Technology

Blog Menu

Sleep tracking: Helpful or Harmful?

Sleep tracking: Helpful or Harmful?

Sleep Tracking: Could it Be Making Your Sleep Worse?

Read this before you turn to your activity tracker for the secret to better shut-eye

Knowledge is power—and when it comes to sleep, many of us assume the more we know about our habits and patterns, the more power we’ll have to improve our ZZZs. But measuring the quality of your shut-eye isn't quite so simple. After all, the accuracy of data collected by sleep trackers isn't necessarily accurate—and even if it was, that doesn't mean it would help you optimize your sleep.

Earlier this year, a study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine examined the real-world effects of using sleep trackers. In a series of case studies, the researchers found trackers were unlikely to help people achieve better sleep. In most cases, they actually seemed to make things worse. “It’s clear some people take it too far, and become a little obsessed with making their sleep perfect,” says Kelly Glaser Baron, PhD, first author of the study and an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Rush Medical College in Chicago. In her study, Baron and her colleagues wrote about one man who felt that if he did not log eight hours of sleep each night on his tracking app, he would likely be wiped out and unable to function properly the following day. The man was averaging 7:45 hours of sleep each night, but the stress of trying to hit his eight-hour goal seemed to be doing more harm than good, Baron says. “He was lying in bed even when he wasn’t tired, and doing other things that really weren’t helpful,” she says.

Can You Trust a Tracker's Data?

While sleep trackers are getting better and more accurate all the time, Baron says several studies suggest many tracking apps and wearables make mistakes. “Most can’t tell the difference between light and deep sleep,” she says. “People come into the lab with data saying they’re not getting any deep sleep, and that’s not the case based on what we see in their EEG readings.” (An EEG, or electroencephalogram, is a test that measures electrical activity in your brain in order to shed light on behaviors like sleep and conditions like epilepsy, says the Mayo Clinic.) In fact, Baron says, many trackers “don’t come close” to accurately measuring sleep—often because they misinterpret small wrist movements as signs of light sleep or wakefulness. “Movement detection at the wrist can’t [determine] what’s going on with brain waves,” she adds.

Even If The Data Is Accurate, Is It Helpful?

To date, there is no evidence that using a sleep tracker improves a person’s sleep. A 2015 study in the journal Sleep found “a critical absence of supporting evidence for the advertised functions and benefits in the majority of the devices.” Especially for those who already struggle to fall asleep or who feel anxious about getting enough rest at night, a sleep tracker may exacerbate that anxiety, Baron says. In her study, she writes that trackers may “reinforce sleep-related anxiety or perfectionism for some patients.” Some may argue that healthy sleep patterns are more likely to develop when you're not focusing so much on it. Overanalyzing sleep could lead you to think about it more when you climb into bed, which in turn could lead to problems drifting off. “Overall, I think a large number of people need to sleep more, so I’m glad people are getting interested in improving sleep,” Baron says. But, she adds, it’s not clear what sort of person would benefit most from using a sleep tracker. “I think your average, stressed out, over-worked person who doesn’t pay enough attention to the amount of sleep they’re getting could benefit if a tracker helped them realize they needed more,” she adds. “But again, there’s no data on that.”

A Better, Cheaper Option

There’s no doubt that many Americans need more sleep. A recent National Safety Council report found that half of Americans are sleep deprived. But rather than carefully tracking our sleep habits, most of us need to focus on improving them. “I think setting a consistent bedtime, and giving yourself time to transition before bed without a screen is helpful,” Baron says. “Not watching that extra show so you can go to bed 15 or 30 minutes earlier is probably going to help.” Some of these sleep tracking apps offer ways to record your pre-bedtime habits—what you ate or drank, or watched or read, right before bed on nights when you slept poorly. That could help you recognize stuff you're doing that messes with your sleep. Baron also recommends talking to your spouse or partner about wanting to get more sleep, and turning the light off a little earlier. She adds, “I don’t think you need another piece of electronics to help you with sleep." The article Sleep Tracking: Could It Be Making Your Sleep Worse? originally appeared on Prevention and Bicycling.com

Let's talk bike technology

Let's talk bike technology

Bike technology is always evolving, resulting in some exciting recent advancements. From helmets that light up to unbelievably light carbon, there is technology that you have to see to believe. The very materials bikes are made from is constantly improving, as well as the technology on the bike. As you look for the perfect gifts this holiday season, some of the latest bike technology might be the perfect answer for you. Read on for some of the advancements we're most excited about.

There is increasing tech integration between your bike and your phone and your computer. There are sensors that allow you to take training to a whole new level. We've seen advancements in security - from GPS trackers that hide in your handlebars to locks that are convenient to carry but prepared to baffle the most experienced thief. Bike lights are getting brighter and smarter - some even coming with forward laser projections to make your presence known even when you're hanging out in someone's blindspot. Carbon is getting lighter and lighter, especially with the new addition of graphene on some models. While new carbon is making road bikes lighter and lighter, we're seeing the trend of wider and wider tires on bikes ready to hit the trails. And when we're talking about bike technology, we can't forget to mention electric bikes. A true cyclist of yesteryear may have looked down his nose at electric bikes, but today's ebike is something to behold - and something even the most devoted cyclist is tempted to turn to.

Many of these new technologies make awesome gifts for the cyclist in your life, and even if we don't have it at our store, we have access to thousands of products that use amazing technologies and serve more than one purpose. Stop in today and talk tech with us!

Learn your bike computer month

Learn your bike computer at Yorktown Cycles

We know, every month has some crazy theme, and at times it can get a bit excessive. However, when we heard it was "Learn your computer" month, we thought it would be an excellent occasion for us at Yorktown Cycles to help YOU learn all about your bike computer. So many of us are riding around, completely unaware of just how much our bike computers can do. So this October we encourage you to bring your computer in to Yorktown Cycles, and we'll help you learn just a little more about everything it can do. No charge, no gimmicks, just a simple lesson in hopes that it will help you improve your cycling. Still riding without a bike computer? You should stop in as well - we can help you find the right computer (from simple to advanced) for your riding style.

Want to learn a bit more about bike computers on your own? Take a quick look at our guide to bicycle computers for a good overview on features available. However, a bike computer is something you want to touch (and let's be honest, play around with) before you purchase it, so stop on in for a full guided tour of different models! You'll be surprised by how much you can improve your cycling with a simple tool like a bike computer.

10 Weird and Wonderful Bike Inventions

Yorktown Cycles 10 Weird and Wonderful Bike Inventions

Celebrating Bike Inventions

At Yorktown Cycles we're all about celebrating the creativity and ingenuity (and sometimes downright hilarity) of cyclists. You may find it hard to believe the following bike inventions exist (so did we) - and you might even be inspired to create your OWN bike inventions. Which one is your favorite? Which do you wish you had?

Rocking chair bike#1 The Rocking Chair Bike

Take the comfort of a rocking chair, and put it on wheels. Crazy or brilliant bike invention? I guess we'd have to try it out to know for sure, but something tells us this one might be a bit awkward to use. We'll stick to our standard selection of comfort bikes for now.

Bamboo Bike#2 The Bamboo Bike

Bamboo may seem like an unconventional material for a bike, but this creativity arose out of a charitable project in Ghana. The design has since been refined by Max Schay and now is sold as "My-boo" bikes. The bikes are still handmade in Ghana, and then finishing touches are added in Germany. Did you notice what's written on it? Hakuna Matata - it means no worries, friends.

plastic elastic forks#3 Plastic Elastic Forks

Plastic elastic front forks? Yep, we're shaking our heads too. Made by the Icelandic company, Lauf, these forks are an attempt to provide something lightweight for cross country and marathon riding, where heavy shock absorbers may be undesirable. If you would rather leave this bike invention in the weird category, go ahead and stop in to check out our wide selection of forks.

Pedal Handles#4 Pedal Handles

We've all seen bikes with pedal handles. And of course we've seen a bike with foot pedals. But a bike with hand AND foot pedals? Now that's an interesting idea. We're not quite sure how well steering would work on this bike invention. Can you imagine pedaling and steering with your hands at the same time? Yep, neither can we.

Triangle Bike#5 Triangle Bike

This triangle bike may look quite odd. In fact, you may be asking, what on earth would motivate that invention?Well, attempting to take a bike on the tube, apparently. British designers created this bike with the goal of making a small folding bike that could easily be taken on public transportation. But having a top tube sticking up between your legs? That would take some getting used to. For a more traditional framed bike that also folds well for public transportation, check out the Giant Expressway or a similar folding bike.

Bike Train#6 Bike Train

Here's an invention for you parents out there. Ever feel like you have a lot to carry with you? Enter the bike train to the rescue. Or for those of you who like to tour by bike. Now you finally have a way to pack up your hair dryer and your personal library and your...well, and whatever else you want to take with you. The bonus is the extra workout with all that weight you're pulling.

Mountain Tandem Bike#7 Mountain Tandem Bike

Tandem bikes are great for traveling down the boulevard with the one you love. However, with this bike apparently you could go ripping down a single track with the one you love. This tandem comes outfitted with disc brakes and front fork suspension to take you to places you never imagined you'd go in tandem. Good luck talking you wife into it.

Electric Chariot#8 The Electric Chariot

Now this is an invention we can get behind. This bike was designed in Taiwan to help those with disabilities to travel by bike. The bike can be pedaled by hand cranks, or be propelled by the powerful electric motor. Have you tried electric bikes yet? An electric bike might just turn your impossible commute into possible.

Bike Beer Holder#9 The Bike Beer Holder

We've got plenty of cages for water bottles. But a beer carrier? That's a dangerously brilliant idea. As long as said beer is to be enjoyed after the ride at one's destination, we're totally behind this bike invention.

bike wheel with springs inside#10 The Wheel with springs inside

Leave it to the British. The British developer Sam Pearce, after seeing a large stroller with industrial grade shock absorbers, had the grand idea to put suspension INSIDE the wheel. These shock absorbing wheels, called "loopwheels," are being used to give a smoother ride on wheelchairs and folding bikes. There are plans in the works to create a mountain bike wheel as well. Stop in to check out our wide selection (although not featuring the loopwheel YET) of wheels to find the perfect fit for your riding style.

Tri Harder - Apps to go the distance

Triathlon Training Apps

If you're looking for that extra nudge to get you off the couch and well on your way towards a triathlon, look no further. We have the perfect set of apps to help motivate and train you all the way to your goals.


First Time Triathlon

Clearly aimed at newbies to the sport, this app will generate a customized 12-week training plan to suit your ability – beginner or intermediate – for each discipline. It may look a little basic and dated, but the app is full of useful tips and definitely worth a look for those starting out.


Garmin Fit

Garmin Fit turns your smartphone into a mine of training stats with speed, distance, route and calories burned displayed for your cycling and running adventures. You can also pick a soundtrack to train to, upload to Garmin Connect and, if your phone is ANT+ enabled, see data from Garmin fitness sensors.


MapMyFitness

This app is another excellent GPS-based training app that will synchronize automatically with your online training log at MapMyFitness.com – an online community full of running and cycling routes. The app features ANT+ support for power and heart rate and Twitter integration and the ability to record indoor sessions for a full training diary.



If you are unsure about how to start training or need advice on what the right gear is for your budget just stop by our shop and we can help!