Sleep has now gone from being a struggle for most people to all fun and games with the new Pokémon Sleep app, which was just released in July.
The hype around the app has been spirling across social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok. Users are thoroughly enjoying the app, engaging in activities ranging from monitoring the weird sounds they make during sleep and consistently observing the appearance of their Pokémon when it lacks sufficient rest.
People are just as ravenous about it on TikTok. In a recent video posted by @lucdeantho, he claims he had a week of the best sleep after the app came out. One user in the comment even agreed by stating, “nah because why did it take Pokémon Sleep to get me into the best sleeping pattern I’ve ever had, even if I go to bed late I wake up early and happy.” (2)
While this application transforms sleep into a source of amusement by monitoring users’ sleep behaviors and offering rewards for improved sleep, it also presents certain risks to players’ well-being.
So if the sole purpose of this app is for users to get more sleep, then what are the dangers? We decided to speak with some experts to learn if the intentions of Pokémon Sleep are sincere or if you should ditch the app and try something else to improve your sleep health.
Time To Delete The App? Medical Experts Weigh In
Although this app is supposedly helping people get the best sleep they can remember having in a very long time, this app doesn’t seem to be a favorite among medical experts.
Dr. Fadi Swaida of Bond Street Dental said he believes gamification can be used for multiple aspects of our life but sleep is one that shouldn’t be combined with games. He said an app that offers tips and a guide for better sleep could be beneficial, but since ‘Pokémon Sleep’ doesn’t necessarily do that, it doesn’t promote better sleep in a healthy manner.
Along with this, he also said that since the app is used on our electronics (which: of course) this will definitely keep us up and stimulated.
“The first, and rather obvious reason, is that science shows that electronics and the lights they produce keep people awake and out of a deep sleep,” he told Sleepopolis. “That’s why we always recommend turning off electronics at least an hour or two before bedtime.”
If you didn’t already know, there is a competitive aspect to this game that could potentially keep you more stressed than relaxed. He mentioned that competition takes precedence, shifting the emphasis away from improving one’s sleep.
“The competitive part of the brain initiates the flight or fight part of human nature and those who are highly competitive go into the ‘fight’ response,” he said.
On the other hand, Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN, said there are benefits in using these apps, but still pose some threats to one’s overall health. She said while most of these apps are relatively new, there is not much research but what has been seen so far is effective. It can provide a way for users to discipline themselves to go to sleep at a certain time when no other option is working.
However, she said the feedback mechanism that comes with these games can be harmful to one’s overall health, specifically revolving around anxiety.
“What may be harmful is the anxiety related to a need to fall asleep fast, which can lead to an increase in intrusive thoughts and, thus, less sleep,” she told Sleepopolis. “Also, people may focus on the negative feedback and punishment side of the game leading to negative emotions.”
Wright also had some other concerns about the app, including having to put your phone face down under your pillow or next to your pillow so your sleep can be tracked more accurately.
“Having your cell phone close to you in bed only tempts you to pick it up and start scrolling through it,” she said. “The light emitting from your phone can inhibit melatonin production and keep you awake longer.”
Wright, Stephanie. Personal Interview. August 10, 2023.
Swaida, Fadi. Personal Interview. August 1o, 2023.
1. Thomas. Pokémon sleep caught me talking in my sleep last night and I’m honestly not even sure what language this is meant to be? PIC.TWITTER.COM/M4WGCRN7AC. Twitter. August 7, 2023. Accessed August 10, 2023. https://twitter.com/Poonikinz/status/1688433818431045632.
2. Luc 💫 Dean on TikTok. TikTok. July 24, 2023. Accessed August 10, 2023. https://www.tiktok.com/@lucdeantho/video/7259495790752566530?_r=1&_t=8eiz1a3SIt0.