Is Sleep Tracking Good For Your Health?

Getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. In a world where we want data for everything, it might be tempting to try to track your sleep with one of the new wearables that have flooded the market. If you are thinking about doing this, you should make sure that you have as much information as possible before you spend a good chunk of change on a tracker. Here are the pros and cons based on the information that is easily available about sleep trackers and their potential effects on your sleep:

Pros of Sleep Tracking

1. More Aware of Your Sleep Patterns

If you want more information about your sleep, having a sleep tracker can help you with that. It can act as an automatic sleep diary so that you have more information to work with when you go talk to your doctor.

2. Can Be Fairly Accurate

The technology inside these various devices is getting better every year, so if you have a brand-new sleep tracker, you have a fairly good chance at getting some good information.

Cons of Sleep Tracking

1. Can Add to your Anxiety About Sleep

If you tend to obsess over things, adding a sleep tracker can exacerbate these issues and lead to insomnia because of it. This has led to the discussion of orthorexia, or an unhealthy obsession with getting enough sleep, and orthosomnia, which is insomnia because you’re so worried about getting the right amount of sleep.

2. Not Always Accurate

Because sleep trackers are often attached to your wrist and designed to also track your fitness, they’re not entirely accurate. Several studies looked at Fitbit’s accuracy in sleep tracking and ffound it lacking, and other companies are probably along the same line.

3. Increased Blue Light

Tracking your sleep with something that syncs to your phone  increases the amount of blue light that you take in at bedtime, which could cause even more issues for your sleep cycle.

4. Increased Likelihood of Confirmation Bias

Last but not least, If you are looking for a particular result from your tracking results, you are likely to find a way to find confirmation of it, whether it’s true or not.

Conclusion

In the end, tracking your sleep on your own can be helpful in finding out what is causing your sleep trouble, but it’s inaccuracies and confirmation biases leave much to be desired.

Sleep tracking can help you to see what activities are causing you to struggle to sleep, especially if they are simple things like not closing the blinds when you sleep or sleeping too warmly. Make sure that your bedroom is as comfortable as possible before jumping to conclusions about your health.

However, If you find that you are extremely lethargic during the day and struggle to get to sleep at night, you should probably talk to a doctor about getting a sleep study done. They will be able to give you real information about your body and your sleep cycle,  and help you fix it.

About the Author

Amy Highland is a sleep expert at SleepHelp.org. Her preferred research topics are health and wellness, so Amy’s a regular reader of Scientific American and Nature. She loves taking naps during thunderstorms and cuddling up with a blanket, book, and cats.