Commercial sleep devices and mobile-phone applications for scoring sleep are gaining ground. In order to provide reliable information about the quantity and/or quality of sleep, their performance needs to be assessed against the current gold standard, i.e., polysomnography (PSG; measuring brain, eye, and muscle activity). Here, we assessed some commercially available sleep trackers, namely an activity tracker; Mi band (Xiaomi, Beijing, China), a scientific actigraph: Motionwatch 8 (CamNTech, Cambridge, UK), and a much-used mobile phone application: Sleep Cycle (Northcube, Gothenburg, Sweden). We recorded 27 nights in healthy sleepers using PSG and these devices and compared the results. Surprisingly, all devices had poor agreement with the PSG gold standard. Sleep parameter comparisons revealed that, specifically, the Mi band and the Sleep Cycle application had difficulties in detecting wake periods which negatively affected their total sleep time and sleep-efficiency estimations. However, all 3 devices were good in detecting the most basic parameter, the actual time in bed. In summary, our results suggest that, to date, the available sleep trackers do not provide meaningful sleep analysis but may be interesting for simply tracking time in bed. A much closer interaction with the scientific field seems necessary if reliable information shall be derived from such devices in the future.
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