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Nat Sci Sleep. 2015 Nov 5;7:147-57. doi: 10.2147/NSS.S94182. eCollection 2015.

Consumer sleep monitors: is there a baby in the bathwater?

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Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA ; Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.


The rapid expansion of consumer sleep devices is outpacing the validation data necessary to assess the potential use of these devices in clinical and research settings. Common sleep monitoring devices utilize a variety of sensors to track movement as well as cardiac and respiratory physiology. The variety of sensors and user-specific factors offer the potential, at least theoretically, for clinically relevant information. We describe the current challenges for interpretation of consumer sleep monitoring data, since the devices are mainly used in non-medical contexts (consumer use) although medically-definable sleep disorders may commonly occur in this setting. A framework for addressing questions of how certain devices might be useful is offered. We suggest that multistage validation efforts are crucially needed, from the level of sensor data and algorithm output, to extrapolations beyond healthy adults and into other populations and real-world environments.


cardiac and respiratory physiology; consumer sleep monitoring data; movement; sensor

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