Fitbit not tracking sleep? What you need to do! [9 Tips to know]

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Fitbit smartwatches and fitness trackers are getting better and better at measuring health-related metrics. The Fitbit Charge 5 that includes ECG and Stress Tracking, is an example of the trend towards the perfect health watch.

Sleep tracking has been included in Fitbit’s products for quite some time now. When coupled to the Fitbit Premium paid subscription, Fitbit’s new wearables will provide Advanced Sleep Analytics to detail the time spent sleeping and their different phases and restoration index. In addition, the Fitbit Sleep Score is getting holistic. It will analyze numerous components to help us sleep better and feel more relaxed when waking up. 

Not all of the Fitbit’s devices track sleep: Make sure yours does!

The first thing to know is that all of Fitbit’s devices do not track sleep. Instead, sleep insights are provided based on your movements and heart rate. Hence the need for a device including a heart rate sensor.

At the time of this writing, the followings models do allow sleep monitoring and sleep statistics:

  • Fitbit Inspire HR / 2
  • Fitbit Ionic
  • Fitbit Versa Series
  • Fitbit Sense
  • Fitbit Charge 4/5

You also need to know that Fitbit will only record and analyze sleep that is longer than one hour. So in case, you are having a little nap in front of the TV and do not see any results. That is perfectly normal, and the only thing to do is go back to bed for a more extended period!

Also, you will need three hours of sleep to benefit from a personalized sleep report and Advanced Sleep analytics. It is noted that the sleep report detailing the Sleep score, including Time Asleep, sleep stage(Deep and REM cycles), and Restoration are part of the Fitbit Premium Subscription. 

This article will present you with nine tips that should fix any issue while tracking sleep. In the unlikely case your Fitbit still doesn’t track sleep properly, your last resort will be to contact Fitbit support as your device may be faulty.

1. Restart your Fitbit 

Restarting the tracker of the smartwatch is usually the easiest way to sort out any issue. The process is somehow different according to the device. 

Find below a summary of the procedures to follow depending on your Fitbit.

2. Sync the watch data with the Fitbit App

This may appear trivial, but it is easy to forget. So, make sure that the data recorded during the night by your Fitbit are correctly synced with the App.

The data will automatically sync during the day, but it can help to proceed to a manual reset when waking up or in doubt. 

There are several ways to do so, but the simplest is the following:

  1. Open the Fitbit App,
  2. Tap on your Profile Picture
  3. Tap on the device you want to sync
  4. Once in the watch menu, you then may have to scroll down and then tap on “Sync Now.” 

3. Clean the sensors

If you are like us, you are wearing your Fitbit Device all day and night long, and the only time you do not is for charging it. Over time, the sensors, and charging pains may get covered with some sweat (that contains salt), dirt, dead skin cells, and oily residues such as skin lotions that may interfere with the sensors’ readings. 

Also, if you shower or bathe with your Fitbit, which is not recommended, some soap residues may be left behind.

Fitbit recommends occasionally cleaning your device with a toothbrush and rubbing alcohol. Hand soap, body soap, dish soap, hand sanitizers, cleaning wipes, home cleaners, or similar cleaning agents should not be used.

4. Adjust the fit and position

The sensors work by emitting IR light and measuring the amount of light being reflected. Unfortunately, tattoos, especially dark ones, may also interfere with the reading. If you get inconsistent readings, try to move your watch or tracker to another position or on non-tattooed skin.

Adjusting the fit can also solve sleep tracking inconsistencies. Never wear your Fitbit too tight as it may impair the blood flow, but be careful not to have your tracker lose either. Instead, Fitbit recommends wearing the device so it can swivel around on your wrist but that the sensor somehow touches the skin.

5. Adjust the sleep tracking sensitivity

Adjusting sleep sensitivity may be a good idea if your sleep stats are not aligned with your sleep pattern. Fitbit’s devices now track sleep automatically, meaning that there is no need to let the device know when you are going to bed and awake. 

Fitbit will understand your sleep habits, and the heart rate monitor sensor will detect the slight variations that occur during the different sleep cycles.

Just tap on the Sleep App Icon on your device page and follow the steps below. 

6. Proceed to a Factory Reset

A factory reset comes in two flavors: soft or hard. Always proceed with a soft reset at first, as a hard reset will delete all of your data. A hard reset should be considered one of the final procedures to use, but it can be helpful and will bring back the system to its original state.

7. Update the system

Your Fitbit is a complex device, and updates are provided regularly. When experiencing issues with sleep tracking, it is also a good idea to check for a potential update and install it.

Most of the time, you will not even have to worry about them as they will automatically update once the Fitbit App is launched.

8. Make sure the battery is charged.

The Fitbit Sleep Tracker will use the heart rate sensor and the accelerometer to collect sleep data to detect movements. Some newer models, like the Fitbit Sense or Charge 5, will also collect information from the Blood Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) sensor, meaning that a lot of energy will be needed.

Always make sure that your battery holds sufficient power to last the whole night, and when in doubt, charge your device for half an hour before going to bed. Then, it shall provide sufficient power for accurate sleep tracking.

9. Contact Fitbit Support

If you followed all of the previous tips and nothing works, the last option is to contact Fitbit Support or check on the Fitbit forum. Members are very active, and you may find valuable help there.

To wrap up

Fitbit sleep trackers are sensitive and accurate. To make the most of them, we regret needing an additional subscription to Fitbit Premium, but it will offer you much more than just information about your sleep stages. 

If your Fitbit device does not track sleep consistently, try the above tips, and you should be good to go for plenty of restful nights.