Behavioral Effects of Self-Tracking Sleep


  • Trainee: Charlotte Lunsingh Scheurleer
  • Company: Philips
  • Company supervisor:
  • TU/e supervisor: Panos Markopoulos


The era of digital health interventions has arrived. Amongst the broad range of consumer health technologies, wearable sleep technologies comprise a major share of this market. There is a need to determine their effect on the user since it has not yet been proven that these devices indeed lead to better sleep (behavior). In this project (a collaboration between Philips and TU/e) therefore, two experimental protocols have been designed, of which one has been executed and concluded. First, the effect of wearing such a device was determined. Indeed, wearing a sleep tracker itself is already enough to enhance sleep behavior awareness and, to some extent, self-reported behavior change. However, the app with sleep information did not yield additional behavioral results. A second protocol has been proposed to further examine the effect of the feedback itself. The protocol will use some data manipulation to see how users will react to that.

Based on the first protocol, it was thought that feedback of sleep data might not be enough to effectively change behavior. A literature search was done to see whether other modifiable lifestyle factors have an effect on sleep measures. In this way, users may be effectively coached during the day to get rewarded with better sleep. It was found that such factors include exercise, stress and substance and food intake. Since reviews are existent on some of these factors, one well-described factor was chosen and reviewed. It seems that the timing of caloric intake has some effect on the distribution of sleep architecture. It seems that persons that consume the major part of their caloric intake towards the evening, as compared to the morning, have different sleep (patterns).

In summary, this project resulted in one of the first reports on the impact of self-tracked sleep data itself on behavior. Furthermore, it suggests to include daily lifestyle factors in a coaching program for better sleep. This kind of work needs to be continued in order to provide consumers with effective feedback for improving sleep.