The technology market is flooded with wearable technology that allows users to receive a whole host of data reflecting the current state of their physical health. These devices track any number of things, with some merely working as a sort of digital pedometer and others tracking nearly every aspect of physical health. These latter devices, many of which track heart rate, sleep quality and a number of other physiological aspects of health, may have a somewhat surprisingly positive impact on mental health as well.
Athletes are often the first to invest in these types of devices, recognizing the value of being able to track the quality and consistency of their workouts. The rest of the population is catching on as well, realizing that these devices may be able to provide the type of feedback that allows them to make positive lifestyle changes that lead to a desired goal or health outcome. Many people who wear these devices are surprised to learn how inaccurate they have been regarding the amount of calories they burn in relation to the amount of calories they consume, while others discover that they have been grossly overestimating the intensity of their daily workouts.
While this data will allow serious and recreational athletes to improve on the efficiency of their physical activities, it is also possible that this wearable fitness technology could help those who are dealing with a number of different mental health issues. As Dana Sibilsky would likely note, psychiatric issues are incredibly complex and can be influenced by any number of factors, including sleep quality and rates of physical activity. With regard to sleep quality, many people have no idea that the type of sleep they get each night is not as good as it should be. This simple change is enough to significantly increase energy levels and possibly mitigate the effects of a mental health issue.
Of course, wearable technology is not a solution. It does, however, provide accurate feedback regarding physical health that can be used to influence mental health. The constant physical feedback can also serve as a motivating force for those who find it difficult to exercise on a daily basis or to simply engage in some sort of physical activity. When used properly, this kind of feedback may be able to increase the efficacy of psychiatric care.