Washington D.C. [USA], April 14 : Are you using a mobile app to sleep longer and deeper? You may want to stop it as a study finds out that most of these apps help users to set sleep-related goals, track and manage their sleep, but only a few of them make use of other methods known to help the chronically sleep-deprived.
According to researchers, many of the apps soothe users with nature sounds, calming music, colours and images.
But less than half of the apps analysed, offer general information about sleep and less than 15 percent explain its benefits or the dangers of not getting enough of it.
The study appeared in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports. "We were surprised that some of the apps didn't say anything about the recommended amount of sleep someone should get on a regular basis," said lead researcher Diana Grigsby-Toussaint from the University of Illinois in the US.
"And there weren't a lot of apps that had any information about the benefits of sleep," Toussaint added.
The researchers originally screened 369 sleep apps available on Android phones and iPhones and analysed 35 popular phone-based sleep apps.
The analysis found that the apps were generally well-designed and easy to navigate and most helped users set goals and track sleep patterns.
But only a minority of the apps included features that support behaviour change. The results suggest that just four of the 35 apps described the health risks associated with not getting enough sleep, like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and depression.
Only four described habits that can interfere with sleep and worsen insomnia, such as drinking caffeine or alcohol before bedtime, the study found.
Just six included sleep reminders. Only one included rewards or praise for success in reaching one's goals..