Is there value in smartwatch or ring data from consumer devices?
Sleep wellness is an increasing topic and practice in the health space and with that has come the introduction of many different sleep tracking devices. With many promises to help with sleep, it's hard to gauge which trackers are best for you and which ones may not work for your needs.
Sleep trackers might seem like a good way for consumers to keep tabs on their health, but many of these devices leave much to be desired and can even worsen insomnia symptoms.
Also, since these devices are continuously updated and often change, it can be difficult for third-party scientists to measure how effective they are, explains Colleen Lance, MD, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic Sleep Disorders Center in Ohio.
At the same time, the commercial market is saturated with technologies that claim to collect sleep measurements despite a lack of independent evaluations.
“It is a bit of the ‘Wild West’ when you see what is being released,” says Lance. “And by the time you could potentially run a medical validation study, they have already moved on to two or three other platforms and the original one isn’t even available for purchase anymore.”
Still, given that an estimated 10% of adults in the United States regularly use a wearable sleep tracker and 50% would consider purchasing one1, some researchers are trying to understand the usefulness of these devices and answer important questions about how well they work. A team of neuroscientists at West Virginia University (WVU) recently put the devices to the test.
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