Sleep tracking apps could actually be making it harder to get a good night's rest

If you love using your Fitbit, phone, or other device to see how much sleep you're getting - and how much of that is a deep sleep - then this may be bad news.

Sleep disorder specialist, Dr Guy Lescziner, has revealed that he is seeing increasing amounts of insomnia patients sharing their snoozing problems via a sleep-related app.

And he explained at Cheltenham science festival on Thursday that actually tracking your sleep in this compulsive way could actually be the cause of the problem.

Dr Guy said, "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,"

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So why are sleep trackers not actually helping us get a good night's rest?

A consultant at Guy's hospital in London, Dr Lescziner suggested that sleep trackers, device and apps could be making us so anxious and paranoid about getting enough shut eye, that they stop us from actually drifting off.

He continued, explaining to The Guardian, that he is highly cynical of sleep trackers, suggesting that we can normally figure out whether we get enough quality kip or not ourselves.

He said, "If you wake up feeling tired and you’ve had an unrefreshing night’s sleep then you know you’ve got a problem,

"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."

The neurologist also said that getting people to stop using their trackers is proving to be harder and harder, saying, “It’s rather difficult to dissuade them from using it.”

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A sleep psychologist Stephanie Romiszewski, also made the point at the festival that everyone sleeps at different times and for different lengths of time - so it's no wonder apps and devices are making us paranoid that we've not got enough.

She said, “Everybody sleeps differently and can have a different duration. And therefore if you take a generic sleep tracker and it [says] you haven’t had the right amount of sleep, that can start to worry you."

The NHS advises that adults require between six and nine hours of sleep a night to function properly, so its makes sense that we all need to consider our own, individual sleeping schedules before panicking.

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on