• Sleep-tracking devices are supposed to ensure that we get enough rest at night
  • A new report reveals that our anxiety about not getting sleep keeps us awake
  • Experts say that the devices have many issues such as poor tracking data

Mary Kekatos For Dailymail.com



Can’t sleep at night? It may have nothing to do with your snoring partner, but with the app that’s supposed to help you get enough rest.

A new report has revealed that apps and devices, designed to help us track our sleep, are actually keeping us up.

The trouble is that we get so worried about whether or not we’re getting enough shut-eye each night that our stress and anxiety keeps us awake.

The researchers call this ‘orthosomnia’ – an unhealthy preoccupation with achieving perfect sleep. 

Your sleep-tracking device could be keeping you awake at night, a new report reveals. Experts say we are so worried about getting enough sleep that this stress keeps us up

The researchers, from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, cited the case of an unidentified 39-year-old man who received a sleep-tracking device as a gift from his girlfriend.

The man discovered that he had fewer fights with his girlfriend after getting a full eight hours of sleep, as measured by the device.

In turn, he became so fixated on getting a good night’s sleep that he would lie awake worried about it.

The article notes that an estimated 15 percent of US adults own a wearable fitness and/or sleep-tracking device, such as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch, and that another 50 percent might consider buying one.


A lack of sleep among the US working population is costing the economy up to $411 billion a year, a new report warns.

Researchers consulted national business reports and peer-reviewed sleep data from five different countries to predict the economic effects of sleeplessness.

The US loses just over 1.2 million working days a year to exhaustion – either from workers taking days off or not performing at their prime.

The study, by the non-profit research firm the RAND Corporation, also warns a lack of sleep drastically raises mortality risk.

‘Poor sleep’ was defined as less than six hours a night, while the optimum amount is somewhere between seven and nine hours.

Those who do not reach the six-hour mark have a 13 percent higher mortality risk than people who sleep eight hours, researchers found.

The ones in between – with about six-and-a-half hours’ sleep – also suffer; they have a seven percent higher mortality risk than their better-rested colleagues. 

While sleep experts find that the growing trend of sleep-tracking devices can be helpful for those interested in learning about their sleeping patterns, ‘too many people become fixated on the hours of good sleep they get according to the tracker, which causes a lot of stress and, in some cases, leads to insomnia,’ lead author Dr Kelly Glazer Baron, a clinical psychologist with Rush University, told NBC.

The apps and devices can even further generate poor sleeping habits.

For instance, in hopes of increasing the sleep tally on their trackers, each of the patients in the study spent more and more time in bed, behavior that runs contrary to the recommendations of sleep therapists.

Additionally, data can be inaccurate since devices vary greatly in terms of detecting movement, and often can’t differentiate between light and deep sleep.

However, lack of sleep is a big problem in the United States.

More than one-third of American adults do not get enough sleep on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

And this sleep deprivation can affect you in a number of ways, including a lack of alertness, impaired memory and mood regulation. Poor sleep has even been linked to heart and immune system problems.

If you want to improve your own sleep, there are ways to do so naturally.

Some suggestions from experts at the National Sleep Foundation include avoiding late-night snacking, sticking to a sleep-wake schedule and maintaining a temperature of between 65 and 67 degrees in your bedroom.

But Dr Baron and her colleagues say the challenge will now be for sleep therapists to educate their patients on the legitimate and realistic uses of sleep-tracking apps and devices, and trying to incorporate them into standard sleep therapy techniques.

Dr Baron says the key is to be pragmatic about your sleeping schedule.

‘It’s not always possible to hack the perfect night of sleep,’ she said.

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