Can Sleep Apps Backfire?

By Ivan Serrano - 12 Jun '19 13:41PM
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Struggling to get enough sleep at night is a tale as old as time itself, and one familiar to untold millions around the globe today. Despite the fact that insomnia continues to plague modern society, few solutions to the problem of sleeplessness have been forthcoming - until recently, that is. Over the past few years, sleep apps which promise to help monitor your shuteye and ensure you get all the rest you need have been springing up all over the place, promising users better nighttime experiences.

Is there any truth to the idea that a sleep app can help you get better rest, or will these apps simply backfire and exacerbate your insomnia? Here's the truth behind apps that "help you sleep."

Experts are skeptical of their efficacy

Not everything can be handled by a mobile application, and it's becoming increasingly clear that experts everywhere are skeptical of the efficacy of apps which promise to bolster the amount of sleep you get each night. Perhaps the most notable trend when it comes to fighting insomnia over the past few years has been the rise of mobile apps which "track your sleep pattern" and give you rough data which can be gleamed for discrepancies in your sleeping habits. Many everyday individuals who struggle to get enough shuteye religiously utilize these apps every night before bringing that data into professionals, many of whom are growing sick and tired of the digital assistants.

According to an extensive report recently put out by The Guardian, for instance, a number of insomnia and sleep experts were deeply suspicious of the ability of these apps to accurately track your sleeping pattern. Furthermore, even if mobile applications could be trusted to accurately gauge how much sleep you get each night, these experts assert that metricizing your life and vacuuming up as much data on its as possible won't always produce the intended results.

According to one research report that originated in Chicago, it's estimated that roughly 1 in 10 U.S. adults wear a wearable sleep tracking device on a regular basis, and that nearly half the population would consider purchasing one. These findings concerned the research team because they fear that otherwise healthy adults will be mislead by these sleep apps and wearable technology, mistakenly believing that they're not getting enough sleep, which in turn bolsters their stress levels and makes it harder to rest in the first place. The rise of "orthosomnia," or the desire to perfect your sleep data in such a way that your overall rest may be negatively impacted, is going to become a larger and larger problem as this wearable tech becomes more commonplace.

Not everything can and should be measured

Just because we have digital technology which can help monitor how much sleep we're getting at night doesn't mean that you can and should be measuring that sort of data. In this day and age, we're often so obsessed with relying on digital devices to perfect our lives that we frequently forget that they're not necessarily needed in the first place if we want to make positive changes to our daily habits, including our sleep schedules. Every individual is different and has various needs which must be fulfilled in order to remain healthy, but the Center for Disease Control asserts that adults need at least 7+ hours of sleep each night if they want to remain on their A-game for long. Nonetheless, the CDC also indicates that about 1 in 3 adults isn't getting enough sleep, which is likely why these sleep-tracking apps are in such high demand right now.

For those who are considering a sleep app, you should consider the growing expert consensus that these apps and similar wearable technology could easily backfire on you. After all, interacting with your smartphone and receiving other digital stimuli right before you attempt to slumber can have a severely negative impact on your ability to get some rest. While custom software development centered around sleep-tracking apps will likely keep emerging in the near-future, those suffering from insomnia should rely on other means of getting better and more frequent rest.

For starters, you should put away your phone and shun other digital devices in the immediate period leading up to your sleep. Looking at your phone before bed has many negative consequences, not least amongst them being the fact that your mind is psychologically engaged right as it's trying to get some well-deserved rest. Furthermore, growing dependent on sleep apps can severely backfire if you find yourself in a situation where you're suddenly deprived of that app - losing your phone/wearable tech or going camping could result in you tossing and turning ceaselessly as you attempt to get some shuteye.

Sleep apps can backfire, which is why so many sleep experts are shunning them these days. If you're struggling to sleep, consult the CDC's webpage and consider enlisting the help of a medical professional. You can rely on sleep apps all you want, but they're likely to produce lackluster results while forcing you to grow dependent on a digital device to get some sleep.

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