Does Sleep Tracking Help?

Does Sleep Tracking Help?

Does Sleep Tracking Help?

In the world of health and wellness, sleep tracking tech and apps have garnered attention for their potential to shed some light on the mysterious third of our lives that we spend asleep.

While we love checking on our sleep stats and finding out how well we’ve slept, the question remains: is this technology truly beneficial?

In this post, we take a look at some different types of sleep tracking technology and their functions.

Types of Sleep Tracker

Sleep trackers come in various forms and perform different functions.

Depending on how deep you want to get into your sleep stats, wearables, bedside devices, and apps all offer different functions and features:

  • Wearables: Devices such as smartwatches and fitness bands are worn on the body. They utilize sensors to monitor physical activities and physiological signals, including movement and heart rate, to estimate sleep patterns like duration, quality, and various sleep stages.
  • Bedside Devices: These devices are placed near the bed and can track sleep without direct contact with the sleeper. They may use technology to monitor sounds, breathing patterns, and movements to assess sleep quality and disruptions.


  • Apps:  Applications for smartphones or tablets that, sometimes in conjunction with wearables or standalone, analyse sleep data. They track sleep patterns and offer insights based on the collected data and input from the user regarding lifestyle choices that might affect sleep, such as caffeine consumption and exercise habits.


Each of these technologies offers a unique approach to monitoring and understanding sleep, providing users with valuable feedback to improve sleep quality.

What Sleep Trackers Can Do

They offer insights into several aspects of our sleep, including:

Sleep Duration: These trackers offer insights into how long you're actually sleeping by monitoring periods of restfulness versus activity.

By tracking when you fall asleep and when you wake up, they help in understanding your overall sleep quantity, which is foundational to assessing sleep health.

Sleep Quality: Beyond just how long you sleep, these apps delve into how well you sleep. By identifying movement, restlessness and interruptions, they offer clues into the quality of your sleep.

This can be especially enlightening for understanding why you might feel tired despite having had what you believed to be a reasonable amount of sleep.

Sleep Phases: The ability to track which stage of sleep you're in (like REM or deep sleep) and potentially wake you up during lighter sleep stages can be a game- changer for feeling more refreshed.

It's based on the premise that waking up in a lighter phase of sleep makes the transition from sleeping to wakefulness easier!

Environmental and Lifestyle Factors: Some trackers go beyond just monitoring your sleep by also considering the environment in which you are sleeping (temperature, light levels) and your lifestyle choices (caffeine intake, exercise) that may impact your sleep quality.

The Verdict on Effectiveness

While sleep trackers provide valuable data on sleep patterns, they don't measure sleep directly. Most rely on movement and activity as proxies for sleep, which can only offer an estimate of actual sleep quality and duration.

For precise sleep analysis, medical sleep studies remain the gold standard, as they monitor brain waves and more accurately determine sleep stages.

However, sleep trackers shine in their ability to reveal trends in your sleep habits. They can help you identify what factors contribute to a good night's sleep for you or what might be causing disturbances.

This insight allows for a personalised approach to improving sleep hygiene.


Sleep trackers can be a useful tool for gaining insight into your sleep patterns and identifying potential areas for improvement.

While they can't replace professional medical advice, they serve as a convenient and informative way to monitor your sleep.

As with any health tool, it is essential to use them wisely and not become overly reliant on the data they provide.

If sleep problems persist, consulting your GP is always the best course of action.

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