Fitbit tracking device

I bought a Fitbit tracking device as I found that manually keeping a sleep diary was keeping me awake. It's been really effective for filling in my sleep diary.

There are two sleep settings normal and sensitive and I've been using sensitive for the last two weeks and I'm now not sure whether I should be using that setting. Fitbit say:

The normal setting counts significant movements such as rolling over as being awake, and is appropriate for most users.
The sensitive setting will cause your tracker to record nearly all movements as time spent awake. This setting may be helpful for users with sleep disorders, or those who wear their tracker somewhere other than the wrist while asleep.

Which should I be using. I've been wearing the tracker on my wrist and sensitive is showing that I wake up 8-13 times a night. However, I'm not aware of being awake more than once or twice a night. I'm currently into 3 days of the session 3 Pro-sleep schedule.

Posted 25 Sep 2014 at 9:57 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

    • 11 comments
    • 2 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I'm on my first week of the course. I am trying to use Sleep cycle too as I find it very difficult to not clock watch otherwise throughout the night – and also it's hard to remember how many times I wake and what time etc. as it's rather a lot. I'm not sure how accurate it is and it is early days. I'd be interested to know how you – and anyone else using Sleep cycle – get on.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I have been a FitBit user for over a year. I know there are sleep tracking on just about every device. I have always used the heart rate monitor devices. I just see that a unit that can monitor your resting heart rate, to be far more accurate about sleep than one that bases sleep from movement (at least I'm guessing that is how not HR units do it)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I use a Fitbit HR and have for a couple of years. I fear that it records my husbands movements as well as mine! It is not always accurate but I feel it is better than not keeping track, or as others have said, clock watching and focusing on when awake instead of getting good sleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I think one of the issues with Fitbit is that when the data is imported to the sleep diary it includes the time you were awake and trying to get to sleep under the “How many times did you wake up during the night?” – so it said I had gotten up 8+ times during the night but in reality it was only 4 – Fitbit included the 4+ times I was restless whilst trying to get to sleep. Other than that I've found it really great – to help with not clock watching and not feeling like I have to count how many times I get up in the night! (I have been using it on normal setting)

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I have a Charge 2 and whilst not perfect it is useful. it counts a bit of turning over to get comfortable before sleep as times awake. It also records lying still as time asleep.

    However, aside from that , it is very useful. Provided you are not lying still but wide awake it logs restless and deep sleep well and will give a total Sleep time that is more accurate than that of Sleepio's 15 minute chunks of ' time to fall asleep' 'time awake during night time awakenings' .

    It reveals that I have very short periods of restful sleep and many periods of restlessness ( which according to Sleepio's calculation count as 'time asleep' ) This explains why I do not feel rested at the end of my Sleep Window when Sleepio is crediting me with 5 h 45m sleep . THat is because 1h 30m or more have been shallow and restless according to Fitbit

    My husband also has a Fitbit. He has always been able to get up and face the day by 6 am. HIs graph shows why. He has perhaps two, at most periods three, of restlessness as against two or three long periods (2 hours or more each) of deep sleep. I have 10-12 restless periods and my best deep sleep episode lasts no more than 30-40 minutes

    My device is linked to Sleepio but every day in my sleep diary comments I record how/ where I feel the Fitbit and Sleepio data conflict. I then give my own estimate of my pattern for that night. The Sleepio calculations are always too generous but my Fitbit data tells me why I do not feel as rested as I should.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    Hi all,

    I have just joined and have suffered with insomnia for 12.5 years. I was wondering whether it would be worthwhile to get a fitbit. Does anyone know how reliable these are and whether there is a better one to get for measuring sleep. On a superficial level I would prefer a thin black one.

    Many thanks and good luck with the course.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    I bought the latest slim Fitbit, the Alta HR because taking notes in the night made my sleep HORRIBLE. Last night I had it set on sensitive, and it says I woke for a total of 2 hours! Lots of little blip awakenings. I am conscious of two awakenings, each lasting about 10 minutes, and that is what I put into my diary this morning. I will set the FitBit to normal tonight. Has anyone else had this effect? The device saying you were awake for much much longer than you are conscious of?

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    I have recently joined the Sleepio programme and was really struggling to keep a sleep diary. Knew it would be fatal to try and write down things as they happened but by the time I got up in morning couldn't remember accurately how my sleep had been!
    I splashed out and got the Fitbit 2 charge as it seemed to be best for sleep recording. It does record micro waking as well as longer waking periods, a sleep pattern which I understand is normal. The problem is you can't really separate the micro ones out. So I just put the total waking time down as shown on my tracker, which is always higher than what is initially shown in my sleep diary. Maybe not such a good plan as it probably impacts negatively on my sleep efficiency score!!!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    Thanks. That is my finding too. The micro-awakenings add up. But after 6-1/2 hours I feel horrible so maybe they are significant and I should use the FitBit score. Maybe the Fitbit is accurate after all. It showed 2 hours of wake time, total. My consciousness of awake time is a total of about 20 minutes. That is a huge difference! I am dealing with RLS too. Ugh.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Graduate

    I think you will find the new Charge 2 useful Rosie. I posted thoughts on mine in April but since then they have updated how they record Sleep details and it is now much more helpful. Still inclined to record lying still as being asleep but the data about deep sleep ( or the lack of it) and the amount of R.E.M. sleep explains a lot about Sleep Quality which has always been more difficult to quantify than length of tims asleep.

  • Sleepio Member

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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Yes – I do like the way the Fitbit records the different stages of sleep – it may not be completely accurate but I don't think anything will be unless you get hooked up to brain wave and heart monitors in a sleep lab!!
    Have found it records my pro-relax exercise as sleep – although I do sometimes drop in and out of light sleep as I'm doing it!
    Have just been checking on the Prof's info about recording waking time and I think (if I understand him correctly) that you should just put in the awake times that disturb you, so maybe just the longer periods (which I can see on my Fitbit graph, but which are still difficult to judge in terms of time) – a guesstimate maybe?!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 33 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Yes – I do like the way the Fitbit records the different stages of sleep – it may not be completely accurate but I don't think anything will be unless you get hooked up to brain wave and heart monitors in a sleep lab!!
    Have found it records my pro-relax exercise as sleep – although I do sometimes drop in and out of light sleep as I'm doing it!
    Have just been checking on the Prof's info about recording waking time and I think (if I understand him correctly) that you should just put in the awake times that disturb you, so maybe just the longer periods (which I can see on my Fitbit graph, but which are still difficult to judge in terms of time) – a guesstimate maybe?!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 55 comments
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    Graduate

    I cheat with recording the PR in that I put the Fitbit on charge when I have a bath as part of my wind down routine and I do not put it on again until after I have done my PR.

    There was a discusssion and questions asked of one of the experts about how to record PR time. Opinions varied but several,of us opted for counting it as wind down and not as 'trying to sleep ' time

    Do you realise that on the Fitbit graph if you press on Awake at the top and then lightly touch an Awake period on the graph it will tell you how long that particular period lasted.?

    I do that and then, as you say, just add up the periods that I was conscious of.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 33 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Tried this on my Fitbit graph, but can't get it to show individual periods of awake-ness – just gives me total for night. Is it a Fitbit Charge 2 that you have?

  • Sleepio Member

    • 33 comments
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    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Many thanks for the tip on leaving tracker off when doing PR & counting it as winding down time – will keep that in mind :)

  • Sleepio Member

    • 55 comments
    • 16 helped
    Graduate

    Yes, I have a Charge 2.
    Just to check you are looking in th right place…
    1. On the dashboard press on the semi circle showing Sleep for last night. This opens a screen with a bar graph for the week and wavy lines below showing sleep for each day in the past week
    2.Press the arrow to the right of the wavy coloured line that shows today's sleep
    3 This opens a more detailed graph with peaks and troughs more evident. Below the graph are other details e.g. Time ASleep etc Ignore these and press on the graph at the top.
    4.A larger version of the same graph opens. This time there are % and times displayed along with the red, pale blue, deep blue blobs at the top for Awake, Light Sleep etc.
    5. Press on the word 'Awake ' above the graph This should highlight Awake periods only on the graph.
    6. Hover or touch lightly any of the highlighted 'peaks' on the graph and the length of time and the actual time (in hours and or minutes) it lasted should appear

    You can do the same for Deep Sleep, Light Sleep and R.E.M.

    Difficult to explain but hope you can follow it. Let me know if you have any success

  • Sleepio Member

    • 33 comments
    • 3 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    Bingo!! Thanks so much – just hadn't got the hovering technique right!!!!

  • Sleepio Member

    • 55 comments
    • 16 helped
    Graduate

    Glad to be of help

  • Sleepio Member

    • 5 comments
    • 1 helped
    Session 4

    After two nights my Charge 2 decided to go back to the bar code representation that I used to get on my Flex 2, rather than showing all the sleep stages. Fitbit suggest this may be caused by:
    The tracker strap being too loose to read HR (No) or in the wrong place (No).
    The sleep being just a nap (No).
    The sleeper being in a funny position (I don't believe so!)
    I see on the Fitbit website that some users have had this problem after charging, and I did charge the tracker yesterday. It is very disappointing, as I think it is much more useful to see when deep sleep etc. occurred rather than simply getting a description of when you were asleep, awake and restless.
    I am also having a problem with the time awake figure on Fitbit differing hugely from the figure imported into my Sleepio sleep diary. Fitbit (for those two nights when the Charge 2 worked properly) said 27 and 28 minutes, but on Sleepio it said an hour or an hour and a quarter.

  • Sleepio Member

    • 55 comments
    • 16 helped
    in reply to Sleepio Member
    Graduate

    My Charge 2 started on the old system but was updated to the new more detailed system automatically. However, on a couple of occasions it has reverted to the old bar graph. The good new is that it reverted to the new improved method the next day.

    I charge mine every evening whilst having a leisurely bath so that does not affect mine.

    Do you feel that the 27 or 28 minutes recorded by Fitbit were correct? If you feel the data imported into Sleepio is inaccurate you can change it by entering your Sleep diary manually. I have read that the Fitbit data is not uploaded until 1 p.m. i.e early afternoon so
    if you fill in other figures before that they are the ones that are logged on your sleep diary.

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