Pokémon Sleep is something of a meme at this point. Originally unveiled as a concept back in 2019, the app went back to sleep until 2023 (typical), and its recent resurgence finally shows us what the app offers. A sleep-tracking app, Pokémon Sleep isn’t aiming to improve your sleep – it’s not that complicated – but instead to help you understand your sleeping patterns and reward consistency.
I was still a little unsure of the app, but we recently got invited to spend a night with the app, and after some guided meditation and hot chocolate, we put Pokémon Sleep to the test. First things first, there’s much more to this app than you might assume. The time that Pokémon Sleep spent dormant was clearly put to good use, as this is a fully featured app with plenty to offer over several weeks and months.
The thrust of the app is this: Professor Neroli is studying the sleep patterns of Pokémon, as well as the effects of something called ‘Drowsy Power.’ So, the professor tasks you with taking care of a different Snorlax every week, with your aim being to take care of the Snorlax in the day, and then use your own sleep patterns to give Snorlax extra drowsy power.
The key here, however, is that when you wake up in the morning, you have a chance to encounter many different Pokémon that you can befriend. Become close enough with these Pokémon and they turn into a helper, ready to assist you in your care of the many different Snorlax Professor Neroli assigns you for each week. What’s more, the more you take care of Snorlax and the more drowsy power you offer it, the more Pokémon appear.
The increase isn’t just in amount either, as a consistent sleep pattern also rewards you with rarer Pokémon, so you can continue to befriend them in the hopes of finally employing them as a helper. There’s obviously a bit of a Pokédex collection aspect here but with the added twist of trying to find each Pokémon’s different sleep style.
Not only can the amount of sleep you get affect the Pokémon you encounter, but also how you catch those ZZZs. Pokémon Sleep breaks your miniature hibernations into a few categories: dozing, snoozing, and slumbering. So, depending on how you sleep, you might encounter not only different Pokémon but those very same Pokémon sleeping in a different way.
If it already sounds like there’s more to Pokémon Sleep than meets the eye, there are still even more aspects to cover. First up, your helper Pokémon and your own in-game activities reward you with Poké biscuits, you can use these and ingredients you find around Snorlax to create recipes, and three times a day you can make Snorlax a meal. Each week the different Snorlax you study has different tastes, so it’s worth collecting different foods and experimenting.
Having a new Snorlax every week brings a nice bit of variety, as looking after the same Snorlax all the time might get a bit boring. Instead, Pokémon Sleep encourages you to build a consistent sleep habit, one week at a time. You get more points for sleeping longer, but if you consistently sleep at the same time each night, for six hours, that is better than getting a few hours one night and then twelve hours the next day. Plus, if you have a bad week, it’s alright, you can start over on Monday.
Pokémon Sleep also has a few different locations to explore, and these naturally allow you to interact with different Pokémon. In our time with the app we have only seen one island, but the Pokémon team assured us there are at least three different areas for you and your many Snorlax to frequent. We’re also not quite sure how many Pokémon are in the game, but it already seems like it’s quite a lot. Pokémon from almost every generation wake up with you, and the variety is likely to grow over time.
After our first night with the app, we convened in the morning to compare sleep scores with others. It’s really interesting to see how our sleep points affect the amount of Pokémon we encounter, but also just the variety. After speaking to several other journalists, I was somehow the only person to encounter a Bulbasaur, and all five of the Pokémon who appeared were from Kanto. My dozy little camp saw a Mankey, Ekans, Bellsprout, Bulbasaur, and a Ratata all wake up beside my slumbering Snorlax.
After speaking to others, a variety of different sleep scores meant that no two people had the same Pokémon appear, and some people hadn’t even encountered five Pokémon. The game doesn’t punish you as such for a poor night’s sleep, but you’ll certainly see rewards for consistent and rested sleep. I’m known to slip into a small coma when I sleep, essentially glued to the spot, and Pokémon Sleep rewarded me with a score of 88 (out of 100) for my consistency through the night.
Like many other sleep-tracking apps you can also hear recordings of yourself through the night, with Pokémon Sleep keeping a record of any particularly loud noises, so expect to listen back to snoring, the occasional fart, and nonsensical conversations with your dream friends. The app is not skipping corners, and anyone who uses other sleep-tracking apps like Sleep Cycle will notice just how much helpful information is being tracked. Just this time, Pokemon Sleep is game-ifying your sleep.
We only got to spend a single night with Pokémon Sleep, but so far I’m really impressed with the app on a visual level. Its interface is clean, everything is easy to understand, and both adults and children alike are set to get a lot out of this. Again, it’s not out to ‘fix’ your sleep patterns like a snoozing take on Brain Training, but making you aware of your habits and encouraging consistency is already a great approach.
I’m yet to truly explore the sheer amount of things you can do, but I can already see there are a lot of Pokémon to find, sleeping patterns to discover, and a huge pantry of recipes ready for you to feed your greedy Snorlax. I’m not sure just how the game intends to keep people interested over many weeks or months, but a couple of key features are sure to help.
Pokémon Sleep has a couple of interactions with Pokémon Go, as when you connect the apps, Pokémon Go lets you encounter a Snorlax with a nightcap. Adorable, but the interaction goes further. Once connected, a good night’s rest in Pokémon Sleep rewards you with stardust in Pokémon Go. We’re not sure quite how much just yet, but if it’s actually a decent amount, this is a huge reason to keep playing for Pokémon Go fans like myself.
Plus, if you regularly play Pokémon Go, you also earn rewards in Pokémon Sleep, such as biscuits you can feed the Pokémon who appear to make them more friendly. It’s nice to see the apps working symbiotically, and I hope it’s all easy to set up and use. It’s one of the main reasons I’m excited about Sleep now, as I still use Pokémon Go every day. The promise of rewards for consistent performance in either app is really exciting.
Finally, there are a couple of drawbacks. Like many sleep-tracking apps, when recording your sleep pattern Pokémon Sleep encourages you to leave your phone face down in the bed. This way, the phone uses its in-built motion detectors to measure your sleep. However, leaving the phone and the app open all night is a bit of a worry, as in my short test, I woke up to a very hot phone. Plus, there’s always the possibility of the phone falling off the bed.
There’s a solution, but it’s going to set you back. You can place the upcoming Pokémon Go Plus+ peripheral under your pillow, and it measures your sleep patterns without the need for a phone. In fact, the disc-shaped Pokébal also has a couple of other features, as you can make Pikachu sing you a lullaby to help you drift off or even set an alarm so Pikachu gently wakes you up with its trademark call. We haven’t tested these features yet, but they all sound great.
The only issue is that the Pokémon Go Plus+ costs around $54.99/£49.99, and if stock is anything to go by already, it’s going to be rare. I’m fine with a peripheral enhancing an experience, but this isn’t cheap, and many may not want a hot phone under their pillow if they can’t get a hold of one.
Not to mention, The Pokémon Go Plus+ finally adds a much-requested feature to Pokémon Go, as trainers are finally able to change the auto-catch settings so you throw Great Balls and Ultra Balls instead of just Poké Balls. As someone who still uses the Poké Ball Plus from Pokémon Let’s Go Pikachu and Eevee, this is a godsend. Except, Pokémon Go locks this new feature behind the new Pokémon Go Plus+ instead of simply being an update to the app.
It’s a minor quibble, and obviously, I’m the sort of person who has had the Pokémon Go Plus+ on order for months already, but I do wish that it wasn’t quite so expensive. Especially when it clearly adds too much to the experience. Speaking of money, Pokémon Sleep is a free app, but it does include microtransactions, though I will say that so far they aren’t obtrusive.
You can use one-time purchases to buy more ingredients and Poké biscuits to feed your ‘mons, or there is even a regular pass that offers extra advantages. We don’t know enough to speak about that yet, but in our time with the game and exploring its interface, it feels like you can very happily ignore purchases and still get a lot out of this app.
Altogether, I’m really impressed with the function, depth, and presentation of Pokémon Sleep. What felt like an oddity when originally unveiled now seems like an app I can see myself using regularly, and feeling rewarded for doing so. There’s clearly a huge amount of things to discover already, but unlike Pokémon Go, you don’t need to sink hours into it every day to see rewards. Just remember to check the app when you go to sleep, and check in on your Pokémon during the day, and you’re fine.
As we mentioned, we haven’t had a chance to test it yet, but it does feel like the Pokémon Go Plus+ really enhances the experience. We look forward to taking it for a test drive, but there is still plenty to be had from this app without the accessory, and from what we can tell, without spending any money. Only time will tell just how much content there is to bring us back, and how the game will push us towards buying in-game items, but so far it feels like a really good starting point.
So far, Pokémon Sleep feels like a really great addition to Pokémon’s array of mobile apps, and we’re excited not only to track our sleep but to earn rewards for simply going to bed at a regular time. With any luck, Pokémon Sleep is going to be a great addition to our daily tasks and a fun new way to interact with the Pokémon we love.
Looking after Snorlax is also a blast, and encountering little Poké pals while filling up your Sleep Style Dex is icing on the cake. The interaction with Pokémon Go will add even more value for some, but I think most people are set to get something out of Pokémon Sleep and will have a lot of fun along the way. Only time will tell, but we haven’t been this excited about sleeping since Christmas Eve.
That’s all we have for today but check back soon for our full thoughts on Pokémon Sleep and the Pokémon Go Plus + accessory. If you want to catch some Pokémon before you catch some ZZZs, be sure to check out our guides covering Pokémon Scarlet and Violet tera raid battles and Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s strongest Pokémon.