How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?

Their accuracy is questioned.

I am one of tens of millions of people who wear fitness trackers. Last year, we wrote about wearables and health care.  For me, monitoring the quality of my sleep in a key reason why I wear it. But, in reality, how effective are sleep trackers? Not very, it seems.

Last month, Brian X. Chen wrote an article for  the NY Times entitled The Sad Truth About Sleep-Tracking Devices and Apps.” Here’s what he concluded:

“I wore an Apple Watch, since it is one of the most popular health-tracking devices. I also downloaded a top-rated app called AutoSleep, which uses the Apple Watch’s sensors to follow my movements and determine when I fell asleep and woke up. (The Apple Watch lacks a built-in sleep tracker.) Here’s what AutoSleep gathered on my sleep habits.”

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?

“But the excitement ended there. Ultimately, the technology did not help me sleep more. It didn’t reveal anything that I didn’t already know, which is that I average about five and a half hours of slumber a night. And the data did not help me answer what I should do about my particular sleep problems. In fact, I’ve felt grumpier since I started these tests.”

“That mirrored conclusions of a recent study from Rush University Medical College and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. Researchers noticed patients complaining about sleep data collected by apps and devices from Nike, Apple, Fitbit and others. In their study, they warned that sleep-tracking tech could provide inaccurate data and worsen insomnia by making people obsessed with achieving perfect slumber, a condition they called orthosomnia. It was one of the latest pieces of research supporting the idea that health apps don’t necessarily make people healthier.”

Click the image below to read more from Chen. Happy sleeping. 🙂

How Effective Are Sleep Trackers?
Image by Glenn Harvey

 

Author: Living Well with Cancer

I am a long-time business school professor, who is a Pancreatic Cancer survivor. I had Whipple surgery on February 12, 2015. In this blog, I want to help others live well with cancer. A positive attitude, caring family, strong medical team, and supportive colleagues are key. And support from other cancer survivors can be life affirming.

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