Many activity trackers and smartwatches now offer sleep-tracking features designed to monitor one’s overall sleep quality, among other things.
These devices are arguably useful for getting an overall picture of one’s sleep habits, but researchers warn that sleep trackers may make things worse for some users prone to unhealthy obsessions and anxiety.
Sleep trackers, which include devices designed to be placed on or near a bed, as well as devices that sit nearby to monitor for sounds, typically work together to generate a software report available in a companion app.
These reports will usually include graphs and numbers revealing how often the user woke up during the night, the duration of deep sleep, and an overall sleep quality score.
Past research has found that many of these devices aren’t entirely accurate; they’re good for getting an idea of one’s sleep, but may not provide a complete look at one’s night or may include some incorrect info.
That’s not a big deal for consumers who use the info to get an overall idea of their sleep patterns and quality, but could be a big issue for users who become obsessed with the numbers, hitting goals, and modifying their behaviors for the sake of the product.