Sleep-tracking tech may not be fit for purpose yet, accoding to leading neurologist
Speaking at the recent Cheltenham festivial of science, Dr. Guy Leschziner, a prominent consultant with a leading post at the Guy’s Hospital Sleep Disorders Centre in London, expressed a negative view of sleep trackers. Some of these products are hardware-based; however, the more common examples are apps that have become popular features on devices such as FitBits, Apple Watches and other smartwatches.
Dr. Leschziner claimed that, "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". He went on to note that failing to meet the inbuilt expectations of a given tracker, despite being naturally disposed to needing less sleep, could have adverse effects on the user. These could extend to anxiety, or the relatively newly-characterized condition of orthosomnia, in which an affected individual develops negative psychological effects due to not attaining the "perfect" amount of sleep.
The consultant was also less than positive about the emerging trend towards blue-light reduction, such as that found in some new mobile devices, intimating that one's genetics had a much stronger influence on the effects of this variable on on melatonin levels. On the other hand, blue light exposure could have other effects on health; in addition, the data gathered by sleep trackers could be useful while consulting a sleep specialist, if necessary.