When you ask people, "How are you?" a common response is often, "tired." That's because many Americans don't get the recommended eight hours of sleep. But recent research shows it's not all about how much sleep you get, but the quality of that sleep.
Joe Kissner leads a busy life. The Sioux Falls man has four kids under the age of eight, including one-month-old Maura.
"If one's not awake, the other one is waking up," Joe said.
Kissner estimates he gets four to six hours of sleep a night.
"I'm definitely tired," Kissner said.
So, we decided to arm him with an app that tracks his sleeping pattern. It's called the Sleep Cycle alarm clock. Your cell phone actually sits in bed with you and detects your movement throughout the night. The app tracks your sleep phases and wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase.
"We know that if you wake up in stage three, which is a deeper stage, you could be groggy and not able to concentrate. It might take you a few minutes before you're fully awake," Avera Sleep Medicine Dr. Fady Jamous said.
But Jamous says this smart phone app might not do you any good if you're not getting the recommended eight hours of sleep.
"If you don't sleep your recommended time, your cognitive function, your ability to concentrate is not going to be as well as it should be," Jamous said.
These other sleep deprivation side effects could also be a "wakeup call," including high blood pressure, a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke, and obesity.
"It's difficult to understand what could happen to you if you only sleep six hours a night for two weeks, but they've done studies and really it feels like not sleeping at all for 48 hours," Jamous said.
While it still might be difficult for Kissner to get eight hours of sleep with four kids at home, he hopes this app will provide some insight into what he's doing while he's not awake.
"The wife worries about me at night. I apparently stop breathing, sleep apnea of some sort," Kissner said.
Next week, we'll catch up with Kissner and Dr. Jamous to check out how well this app is working for Kissner.