Kristin Haraldsdottir, PhD
Exercise & Wellness Researcher
Much of what we know about women’s health we’ve learned in the past 30 years. That’s because until the mid-1990s, women were left out of clinical trials – in part because of the belief that fluctuations in women’s hormones would make them difficult to study.1 As a result, we’re still learning more about women’s biometrics, a helpful indicator of overall health which also vary between men and women. There’s a huge opportunity to increase attention and investment in understanding the link between women’s biometrics and their health. Consistent monitoring of just a few key biometrics – sleep, heart rate, and physical activity – can lead to a much deeper understanding of overall health.
A single poor night’s sleep not only impacts productivity and focus, but long-term sleep deprivation can put you at a higher risk for illness. Studies confirm what many already know to be true: women experience lower-quality sleep than men. Conditions such as insomnia, frequent waking, and Restless Legs Syndrome are just some of the causes of why women struggle to sleep and wake up feeling tired.2 A biometric tracker can help track sleep duration and quality, but more importantly, help you identify habits and patterns that may impact your sleep.
Heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV)
HRV is a calculation of the variation between heartbeats and a valuable indicator of how your body responds to stress, lifestyle behaviors, and genetics.4 In the short term, monitoring and interpreting heart rate and HRV can indicate when it’s time to rest and recover due to illness or overwork. And longer term, better understanding of these metrics and how to manage them can help you manage stress and balance activity to lead to a healthier lifestyle. Taking the first step to simply measure and monitor these biometrics can lead to better heart health and overall longevity.5
Activity tracking has come a long way from the original pedometers; with technological advancements we now can more precisely measure many different types of activity and intensities. This is good news as research shows that even small commitments to regular activity can lead to immediate daily health and wellness improvements. People who deliberately track their activity are more likely to maintain healthy lifestyles and feel both more energetic and better about themselves.7
The big picture
With more technology and information available than ever before, there has never been a better time to start leveraging biometrics to help women lead healthier lives. By tracking three key metrics – sleep, heart rate, and activity – women can take more control over their health and wellness and feel more energetic and healthier overall.