Young man with sleep disorder sitting on bed at home

Sleep Trackers Are Latest Fitness Tech To Disappoint

Sleep trackers monitor your sleep session giving you a report in the morning of how good or bad you slept the previous night. Some device are monitoring air quality, heart rate, respiration, noise levels, how many times you tossed and turned, how many times you got up, and how many minutes you slept or didn’t sleep. But the question that many people are asking is, “SO WHAT?”

According to Fares Siddiqui Co-Founder of Circadia, ” There is an inherent risk to sleep trackers that they overpromise and underdeliver.” So what is the point of this technology, that in some cases comes at a premium price, yet in the end leaves you suffering from poor sleep?

In 2014 a survey taken stated,  “That 85 percent of U.S. consumers (out of 3,400 polled) said they were not in the market for a fitness band. ” Now fast forward to 2017 and there are as many sleep trackers as “Carter’s Pills”.

Everyone is trying to cash in on a multi-billion dollar industry.  Now it is obvious that trackers do have their part to play so they cannot be knocked for what they provide.

But according to Dr. W. Christopher Winter, a specialist in sleep medicine and neurology and author of The Sleep Solution. He brought Fitbit, Jawbone, and phone-based trackers to his sleep lab, and strapped them all to his arm. All of the gadgets could tell when he went to bed and when he woke up, but none of them could reliably tell the different stages of sleep (like REM or dreaming sleep) from each other.

Wearable devices track sleep by movement either by detecting when your bed moves or by listening for sounds during the night.

Movement is not the same thing as sleep, Dr. Winter emphasizes, but sleep labs do monitor movement—along with other body functions, like breathing, eye movement, and brain activity.

So you can, according to Dr. Winter, ignore the number FitBit gives you for “sleep efficiency,” or Sleep as Android’s opinion on how much time you spent in “light” versus “deep” sleep. There’s no way they could possibly have a complete picture of when you were truly asleep, or what stage of sleep you were in.

Sleep trackers, track sleep, and it seems according to Dr. Winter, not very well. But the other thing is that they fail to induce sleep. That is not their purpose. Unfortunately the more some people know about how poorly they sleep the worse they become. This is why at 2breathe, winner of a 2017 CES award, our CEO and Co-Founder of 2breathe, Erez Gavish, likes to say, “Tracking sleep is nice. Inducing sleep is better.”

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