Experts say that sleep apps are not so smart
There is a sleep disorder conference
in New Zealand this week, looking into research that popular sleep
apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time+ could be causing insomniacs
to get even less sleep.
The 'Sleep in Aotearoa' conference
will discuss the new methods people are trying to get to sleep. Up
for discussion is the effectiveness of a milk powder drink enriched
with the sleep hormone melatonin, iPhone apps that could leave you
"The more we investigate, the
clearer it becomes that how much you sleep, when you sleep and
whether you sleep well has a huge bearing on your waking life."
says conference organiser Angela Campbell. Guest speaker Dr Sarah
Biggs, a sleep researcher from Monash University in Melbourne, will
present concerns around new smartphone technology that is designed
to monitor and improve sleep.
She found that instead of aiding
sleep, popular sleep apps like Sleep Cycle and Sleep Time+ could be
robbing insomniacs of much needed shut-eye. "These apps can give a
false reassurance to those with insomnia or sleep apnea, leading
them to believe they're sleeping well when they're not."
They can paint a worrying picture of
an individual's sleep, adding to their night time anxieties and
making a good night's sleep even harder to attain.
Experts at the Sleep Health
Foundation have previously found that those who don't understand
that normal sleep involves lots of brief awakenings may be
especially at risk.
"Insomniacs who find themselves
compulsively checking their sleep stats and worrying about not
getting 'enough' sleep may need to avoid sleep tracker technology
altogether or only check the data less frequently" says Sleep
Health Foundation researcher Dr Siobhan Banks.
Have you tried any milk drinks or
sleep apps? Do you find they help or make you more anxious? For top
tips on how to get a good night's sleep, visit our Sleep Toolkit with top tips from our sleep
expert Dr Nerina.