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Sleep tracking tech – Does it help?


Maybe it’s just me, but I sometimes wonder what I am getting out of tracking my sleep every night using the technology around me. From special pillows to fitness bands that live on your wrist, there are so many ways of tracking your sleep. But, does it really help with anything?

If you are having trouble sleeping, chances are, you already know about it, because you feel the side effects. Most of today’s sleep tracking tech, lacks the abilities you need to really do anything about it, or to better understand it.

Some trackers base their results on simple movement patterns or movement in general. This is good to know if you move around a lot, but it tries to grade the actual level of sleep you are experiencing. The result isn’t balanced with other analytics. It’s like a pedometer that has no idea if you are walking or scratching your nose. These gadgets offer a very limited and inaccurate view.

Some of your better options also include variables such as heart rate, which allows them to dial the answer in a little further. Still, the results aren’t always accurate. Plus, what do you do with these results? Are you trying to confirm what you already know, because you feel like a walking member of the undead? Or are you just trying to make a point by sharing recorded proof to all of your friends on social media?

Personally, I have used a number of gadgets, like Fitbits and smartwatches like the Microsoft Band. I find that knowing a somewhat accurate idea of what my sleep patterns look like, only causes a certain level of anxiety. Anything with a share option to me is pointless unless you’re looking to share it with your doctor (and typically, this isn’t done through Facebook). It doesn’t fix anything or scan my body’s analytics while sleeping, including chemicals, vitals, body positions, environmental input such as noise and so forth. It can’t recommend different habits based on what it finds. Now, I can see the latter part being possible when the time comes that we have true AI assisting our daily lives, but then again, I don’t think I’d want a computer watching me while I sleep every night (that would be quite creepy).

If I feel like I am having trouble sleeping, I find that the trackers are simply telling me what I already know. It seems like a better answer would be to see a doctor if you truly feel like you are losing sleep (because you will feel like it if you are). Let professional equipment and people help determine what variables are affecting your sleep and how you can better enhance your results through various life changes.

What do you think? Does the tracking solution you use help you in your getting to understand yourself better, or does it feel like redundant information at times? What is your favorite gadget for tracking your sleep and has it ever helped you discover anything you didn’t already know? Let us know in the comments!


About Author


Tracy comes with a background in computer science and engineering. She has a vast knowledge of consumer electronics, an avid RC/drone hobbyist and has been benchmarking both electronics and applications since 16 years of age. She has authored 3 personal blogs since 1999 and written for ProAudio magazine. The best way to win her heart, is a box of german truffles.

1 Comment

  1. James

    I wouldn’t mind one that offers a DVR function for my dreams so that I can play them back later and see what a dream looks like to a conscious/awake mind. Do we truly dream in vivid quality we believe we are? On a serious note (staying to the topic), I can’t say I have ever learned anything I didn’t know before using a tracker. It was cool for a little while but felt like a gimmick eventually. I agree that additional features are well needed. Detailed reports that you can send to your doctor for analysis would be a good start.

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