Online searches for the Pokémon Sleep app dramatically increased soon after it launched in July 2023, according to Google Trends. With a reported 10 million downloads, it may be no surprise the Pokémon Sleep Reddit group now has over 46,000 followers for this free app with in-app purchases available. Eight months after the app’s release, researchers are beginning to evaluate its impact on sleep.

The Pokémon Sleep app builds on the idea that making everyday things fun can help improve our health. It uses your smartphone’s accelerometer and mic to turn sleep into a game by tracking and rewarding quality sleep and consistent bedtimes

Gamification is often used as a targeted way for app users to set goals that modify health behaviors. For example, a November 2023 review found that Pokémon GO improved physical activity for children and teens. The reality-augmented app, first launched in 2016, is intended to be played outdoors where users explore their surroundings and get exercise by catching various Pokémon.

A small study published in January 2022 looked at gamification’s effect on sleep. It found that 13 participants who used a gamified version of a sleep app were more motivated to improve their sleep-wake behaviors than 13 participants who used a non-gamified version.  

Early data from the Pokémon Company suggest that sleep times increased for people who used the app for 3 months. An independent Japanese study from late 2023 reportedly found that Pokémon Sleep users had 26 more minutes of sleep per night than the previous year, according to TechTimes.  

To improve sleep habits, the app offers a personalized sleep schedule, nightly goals, background music, and an alarm clock. Sleep expert Dr. Masashi Yanagisawa of the University of Tsukuba in Japan provided input on the game design to help ensure that healthy sleep behaviors are rewarded, leading to higher scores.  

Players place their phones near their pillows to begin the game and track their sleep. A special Pikachu wearing a nightcap welcomes first-time users who receive a Snorlax to study and raise (much like a pet). In the morning, players receive a report categorizing their sleep style from light and fitful to almost no moving around or waking up. Players can befriend various Pokémon that gather around their Snorlax based on their sleep quality. Other potential rewards include berries to give to the Snorlax to increase its strength, diamonds, cooking ingredients, and the chance to level up.

The inability to scroll on your phone at bedtime while the app is in tracking mode is another potential benefit that may change the way some users pursue sleep: 

“It helps me go to bed on time, and it’s also super helpful for not staying up using my phone,” says IvyEmblem on Reddit.

“It’s embarrassing to admit, but Pokémon Sleep is motivating me to sleep a little better because these creatures are my babies, and they need to rest up,” says sushimustwrite on X

It’s important to note that individual results may vary, and some users may find that the app doesn’t significantly impact their sleep. So far, research on Pokémon Sleep is limited. More studies are needed to understand whether the motivation to do well in a game–and enjoyment of a game–translates to better sleep.

Got a hot tip? Pitch us your story idea, share your expertise with, or let us know about your sleep experiences right here.

Learn more about our Editorial Team

10 Sources

  1. Google. (n.d) Google Trends., Retrieved February 12, 2024, from
  2. The Pokémon Company. (2020, August 5). Pokémon Sleep reaches 10 million downloads worldwide. Pokémon Sleep., Retrieved February 12, 2024, from
  3. Reddit. (n.d.). r/PokemonSleep., Retrieved February 12, 2024, from
  4. Cotton, V., & Patel, M. S. (2019). Gamification Use and Design in Popular Health and Fitness Mobile Applications. American journal of health promotion : AJHP, 33(3), 448–451.
  5. Liang, H., Wang, X., & An, R. (2023). Influence of Pokémon GO on Physical Activity and Psychosocial Well-Being in Children and Adolescents: Systematic Review. Journal of medical Internet research, 25, e49019.
  6. Ilhan, A., Sener, B., Hacihabiboglu, H., (2022) Improving Sleep-Wake Behaviors Using Mobile App Gamification. Entertainment computing, Volume 40, 1875-9521.
  7. Townsend, V., (2024, Jan 2). The Pokémon Company’s global study on Pokémon Sleep’s impact yields surprise results. Automaton., Retrieved February 12,2024, from
  8. TechTimes. (2023, December 16). “Pokemon Sleep Actually Helped People More in 2023, Japan Study Reveals”. TechTimes., Retrieved February 12, 2024 from
  9. The Pokémon Company. (2023, March 17). Corporate Social Responsibility., Retrieved February 12, 2024, from
  10. Pokémon Sleep Official Website. (2023)., Retrieved February 12,2024, from

Learn More About Sleep News