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The Sad Truth About Sleep-Tracking Devices And Apps

Striving for 8 solid hours or nothing...

There is a new wellness hashtag trending and it seems like a simple one to get behind, but is #sleepingclean and tracking your sleep actually making things worse? 

Being competitive is in my nature. I've always been a little that way inclined – in sports, in my studies, at work, I've tried to push myself.

So, when a colleague mentioned that she'd been killing her sleep-app game of late, you'd be right in assuming, my interest* (*read competitiveness) was piqued. 

Sleeping well is something that comes naturally to me. I don't need a whole lot of it, but I'm one of those v. lucky (and probably annoying) few that can kind of do it pretty much anywhere, any time. 


A little more personal research into the concept of sleeping clean threw up countless tips on turning phones off before bed, using silk pillowcases, having an LED light to wake you up, wearing an eye mask, earplugs, little dabs of lavender oil on the wrists and ankles - all with the intention of to creating a better night's sleep.

And while some of it seemed excessive to me, the more thought I gave the ritual of sleeping, the more I under pressure I felt to achieve the idealistic 'perfect' night's sleep.

And so began my self-induced sleep competitiveness and the quest for a nightly PB on sleep tracking apps. 

Sleep Competitiveness

Turns out I wasn't alone in my sleep-data fixation.

According to a recent scientific study, tracking sleep with apps, wearables or in-bed sleep monitors can be directly linked to causing bedtime anxiety and stress.... which are hardly the ideal recipe for achieving a sound night’s sleep.

So, while sleep apps aren't necessarily bad, as quality sleep comes about thorough relaxation, obsessing about hours of REM will absolutely have the opposite effect.

Competition can bring out the best and the worst in people, and in my case, when it came to sleep, I was the only one losing.

From now on, I'll be downloading blue-lighted tools and avoiding all things data-related as soon as darkness descends.

Main image by Priscilla Du Preez

READ: A Sleep Expert Breaks Down The Basics On How To Get A Good Night's Sleep

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