Thanks to the improvements of smartphones and wearables over last couple of years, manufacturers offer bunch of sleep tracking features to improve users’ sleep quality with their devices. While these companies claim that the products help to improve sleep quality, researchers have revealed that using sleep trackers might result in anxiety along with several other psychological issues.
In case you didn’t know, sleep trackers are devices used by people in order to monitor their sleeping habits. Generally, these devices come with a companion app which gives users reports on how well they slept. In order to do so, the apps give users data for different scenarios such as how often they woke up, sound level in the room etc. in easy to understand graphs. While manufacturers claim that these data can improve someone’s sleeping habit, researchers over the years have found that these devices don’t really give accurate reports.
Although the inaccurate reports might not be the deal breaker for a number of people, researchers revealed that such reports might result in obsession with numbers and goals. Talking to NYT, researchers said that over reliance on the sleep trackers might result in users developing unhealthy habits to meet their goals which will ironically make insomnia worse.
Most importantly, the researchers warned that as the data might not give the complete picture. For instance, someone might have adequate sleep but their device would think they are suffering from anxiety or mental health issues. As a result, users of sleep trackers might end up wasting money and resources on unnecessary tests and treatments.