Advances in technology have had wide-reaching effects in our daily lives - from smart thermostats to smart refrigerators to smart watches. Technology is readily available and widely used.
Many people are now using technology to track their sleep. In fact, about one in five US adults say they regularly wear a smartwatch or wearable fitness tracker, according to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey.
Consumer sleep trackers (CSTs) can monitor and track heart rate, changes in heart rate, breathing patterns, snoring, body temperature, or awake/sleep times. For some devices, it will even monitor external circumstances like room temperature, humidity, light, and noise levels.
With all the information provided, can these trackers help with sleep disorders?
One benefit of consumer sleep trackers is the increased awareness it provides. It can help people become aware of their sleep habits and may encourage them to see a doctor if they are concerned about their pattern of sleep.
For many people who sleep normally, CSTs are a good measure of sleep patterns and habits. However, for those with sleep disorders like sleep apnea or insomnia, CSTs are less reliable. For example, someone with insomnia may lie awake at night, but if they are still, a sleep tracker may count that as time asleep.
Sleep trackers are useful, and the technology is improving; however, it is no substitute for a doctor’s evaluation and the data given cannot be used to diagnose a sleep disorder.
Overall consumer sleep trackers are helpful but not clinical measures of sleep. They are helpful for tracking patterns or trends in sleep, but are not entirely accurate in the data they provide. The greatest measure of sleep is not in the nightly numbers, but in how rested you feel during the day.
Everyone experiences occasional sleeping problems, but if you experience problems sleeping repeatedly, it could indicate an underlying health problem. If you have been tracking your sleep habits and have reason to be concerned about your sleep patterns, contact the North Suffolk Neurology experts today for a comprehensive evaluation. For all in-office appointments & inquiries, please call (631) 364-9119.
North Suffolk Neurology is a full-service Neurology, Headache Medicine, and Sleep Medicine practice. Our neurologists are board certified with a commitment to help patients and their families maintain and improve health.