Tracking your sleep can actually lead to insomnia, says sleep expert

A growing number of people suffering from insomnia have been using sleep trackers

Man unable to sleep while wife sleeps comfortably unaware. Getty Images
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Using an app to track your sleep can lead to insomnia from obsessively checking your stats, a leading sleep disorder expert has said.

According to neurologist Dr Guy Lescziner, more and more patients he sees who suffer from insomnia have been meticulously tracking their sleep via smartphone apps and smart watches.

Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the UK this week, Dr Lescziner said he believed the apps to be counterintuitive to getting a good night’s sleep. “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 added that the latest compulsion to analyse our sleeping habits is part of a wider movement to “metricise our lives” alongside the likes of calorie counting and tracking our steps. However, while those things may have a positive effect, Dr Lescziner says the same cannot be said for our sleep, as over analysing can actually make it harder for our brains to switch off.

“If you wake up feeling tired and you’ve had an unrefreshing night’s sleep then you know you’ve got a problem,” he said.

“If you wake up every day and feel refreshed, are awake throughout the day and are ready to sleep at the same time every night then you’re probably getting enough sleep for you and you don’t need an app to tell you that.”

It is recommended that healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 65 get between seven and nine hours sleep each night. However, up to 90 per cent of UAE residents are suffering from sleep deprivation, according to latest figures, with 47 per cent saying they get less than seven hours a night.