The Dark Side of Sleep Trackers

Jan 30, 2024
Female presenting person, in bed, worriedly looking at a gadget on their wrist.

Many of the fitness monitoring tools such as Fitbit, Oura rings, Apple Watches etc have features that monitor your sleep and give you a Sleep Report in the morning.

Seems like a good idea, yes? We know that quantity and quality sleep is one of the main keystones of good health.

But a lot of my patients who use these devices report feeling stressed about their Sleep Report, worrying about their sleep report and what that might mean in terms of their health and well-being. Which made them feel stressed about sleeping.

And of course, sleep is something we can’t influence or change while we are doing it. We can take measures during the day in the hopes of improving the quality and quantity of our sleep, but not when we are actually sleeping.

But the sleep monitor can. It’s like having the strict homeroom teacher watching you sleep!

Fitness monitors are tools and in any given situation, whether you are building a deck or working on a health “project” such as improving your sleep, the question to ask is “What is the right tool for me at this time?”

You may find the information the sleep monitor gives you to be helpful. For some patients, they have been able to see direct correlations between caffeine and or alcohol and their sleep quality and make conscious changes.

For others, the information accentuated a sense of helplessness or being out of control with about sleep and made their sleep worse.

If you can make use of the tool in a productive way, great. If you feel worse as a result of using the tool, it’s not for you. Even if your best friend says it’s the be-all and end-all. Use the tools that work for you, and let go of those that don’t.

You have my permission to take your Fitbit off at night,
Kirstin Lindquist

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