Healthy Living

Neurologist Exposes Dangers Of Sleep-Tracking Apps

If you’ve had trouble sleeping at some point in your life, then you are probably one of the many people who have turned to sleep-tracking applications in hopes of getting “enough sleep.” And at the best of times, this might have worked for you. But does the use of these apps have any negative effects?

It’s unlikely that you’ll suspect it, but as it turns out, there are drawbacks.

Sleep-tracking applications for smartphones are making us feel so anxious and obsessed about our sleeping schedules that we start to develop insomnia, a condition that prevents us from getting any sleep at all.

That’s according to Dr. Guy Leschziner, a leading neurologist and sleep disorder specialist at Guy’s Hospital in London, who spoke recently at the Cheltenham science festival about the growing obsession to get enough sleep.

“We’ve seen a lot of people who have developed significant insomnia as a result of either sleep trackers or reading certain things about how devastating sleep deprivation is for you,” Leschziner said before his talk.

He added that one of the problems that comes with these sleep-tracking apps is that a lot of its supposed benefits are not clinically validated, so they do not really provide any insight into the quality of sleep we are getting.

Unfortunately, Leschziner said that most of his patients who seek treatment for insomnia are also very reluctant to delete the apps when advised to do so.

“My view of sleep trackers is fairly cynical. If you wake up feeling tired and you’ve had an unrefreshing night’s sleep then you know you’ve got a problem,” he said. “If you wake up every day and feel refreshed, are awake throughout the day and are ready to sleep at the same time every night then you’re probably getting enough sleep for you and you don’t need an app to tell you that.”

According to Leschziner, this act of measuring sleep is part of a bigger trend of “metricizing our lives” via technology, same with counting our steps while walking, or counting our followers on social media.

Sleeping Sleeping at night and staying asleep until morning Free-Photos/Pixabay