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Not Getting Enough Sleep? There's An App For That

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Are you getting enough sleep at night? Many who don't turn to medications. But what about using your phone to get an extra few minutes of sleep?

We are taking a closer look at smartphone sleep apps to determine if they're good for your health.

It's a crazy world we live in that's constantly on the go. But when it comes to going to bed, a lot of us are so stressed we just can't get any sleep. There are plenty of medications out there that claim they can help people sleep. But some drugs have side effects, so a lot of people choose to toss and turn until they fall asleep.

There's a solution out there for at least some people. Introducing sleep apps: They're apps you can download on your smartphone or tablet. From using soothing sounds that can help you relax to tracking your sleep patterns, these apps claim they can help you get a better night's sleep.

"The fact that people are starting to recognize the importance of sleep is the bonus," said Dr. Neal Maru.

But do they really help when it comes to your health?

"They are not really going to diagnose anything. They are not going to be able to treat a patient with any type of sleep disorder," Maru said.

Recently, the FDA announced they will begin monitoring health apps to make sure they are safe and do what they claim. Doctors say even if these programs do cause you to become drowsy, chances are those who download them are having sleep problems that may need to be treated by a physician.

That's because many sleep issues, like sleep apnea, can lead to serious problems.

"If a person is having an issue with their sleep, that may be why they downloaded the app in the first place. And if that is the case certainly seeking medical advice and certainly testing could be beneficial," Maru said.

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