Skip to Content

The Pros and Cons of Pokemon Sleep: Do You Need It?

A recipe for phone anxiety and/or training Pokemon in your dreams.
Pokemon Sleep | Image by Nintendo
Pokemon Sleep | Image by Nintendo

Pokemon Sleep is the latest in the gamification of self-care: it tracks your sleeping patterns, using different Pokemon to represent the way you sleep. As you continue to use the app night after night, you’ll unlock more Pokemon who will help you learn more about how you sleep. The game is set to launch this summer.

How Does Pokemon Sleep Work?

You place your phone next to you when you sleep. In the game, you’ll get to research how different Pokemon sleep, which reveals more info about how you sleep.

You get a sleep score, not unlike regular (less interactive) apps and smart devices. The game encourages you to get awesome sleep and then rewards you for doing so. However, if you’re a healthy sleeper, you might need to engage in unusual or unhealthy sleep patterns to unlock all those Pokemon.

You can also link Pokemon GO Plus + to Pokemon Sleep for a fully gamified experience complete with Pikachu helping you sleep or wake up.

Pokemon Sleep: The Good

Snorlax doing what he does best | Image by Nintendo
Snorlax doing what he does best | Image by Nintendo

This is a cute game that can help kids (and everyone else, including those of us who grew up in the first Pokemon generation) improve sleep habits. It looks like it’ll be a cute, friendly game. The concept is simple, it’s an easy habit to adapt, and everyone could really learn something from the game — even if it is that you’re not sleeping well, or enough.

Pokemon Sleep: The Bad

People get obsessed. Do they really need an app that gamifies their sleep habits?

I live, work, and breathe social media and gaming, not just as a lifestyle preference, but because of my livelihood.

When I had my first round of COVID in March of 2020, I’d wake from a haze of illness to grab my phone — my only connection to other people — and I’d check, in this order: text messages, Facebook, a mobile game about dogs, and Pokemon GO.

If I slept too much, I’d worry about a new dog entering the house in the dog game, or a change in the weather that might make a new Pokemon appear outside.

Gaming became my only portal to the outside world. In a world before Wordle (which limits players to one puzzle per day), I obsessively started dozens of Scrabble games on a mobile app. Sickness and sleep caused me to have a strange relationship with gaming, and the social live action gaming I’d been doing via Zoom wasn’t possible when I was so ill.

But why do I find myself going through major phases of disenchantment with games like Pokemon GO, even when they’re somewhat social and encouraging of good habits like exercise and travel?

It’s just not healthy to game 24/7 or to have your first thought be “I need to look at my Pokemon app before I pee.” Or, in the case of my COVID era, “hey, I didn’t die overnight, I’ve been asleep for THIRTEEN HOURS OH MY GOD ARE THERE POKEMON?”

Are you gonna cuddle up with Snorlax?
Pokemon Sleep is coming soon! | Image by Nintendo

There’s a difference between having a thread to hold onto and having something present in an unhealthy way.

By the way — two years later, I’ve deleted the Facebook app from my phone, I don’t really play mobile games anymore, and I game to relax on my PC.

And… instead of games with virtual animals, I got a dog.

Pokemon Sleep: The Sleepy

While the original Pokemon games, Pokemon cards, and Pokemon GO have all risen and fallen in popularity, the Pokemon brand carries a lot of longevity. Companies like Amazon produce health apps like Halo that come and go, but Nintendo typically retains functionality for its games, even if there aren’t updates. (Nobody puts the Wii Balance Board in the corner!) Because of this, it’s likely that the game will remain active even if it isn’t the most popular in the future.

While I question whether it’s healthy to gamify sleep, it does seem like a fantastic way to positively create good habits and even share information about your sleep habits with your doctor. I do not recommend adding this and other apps to things you do in the morning before anything else, though. Use the bathroom, have some coffee, eat some breakfast, walk the dog, and then think about it.

I’ll be skipping this one, but I’m glad it’s there for people it can help!

Pokemon Sleep will be available on Android and iOS platforms in the summer of 2023.


We hope you enjoyed our guide to Pokemon Sleep. Please check out Gamer Journalist on Facebook to join the discussion and keep up to date with our content. You may also want to check out our posts about Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Back to Navigation