How does Fitbit track sleep And Can It Make Me Sleep Better?

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While a wearable device is not a replacement for professional sleep advice, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t use your Fitbit to find out more about your sleep patterns and get a sleep score that will help in establishing good sleep habits. 

How does the Fitbit sleep tracker work? First, let’s take a look at how Fitbit tracks sleep and what it can do to diagnose health conditions associated with poor sleep quality, including sleep apnea.

How Does Fitbit Track Sleep Duration? 

Fitbit does not track your sleep like an active sleep monitor station like those you get in a hospital or sleep center. The various components of the sleep cycle are extracted from physiological parameters.

Tracking sleep is not an easy task. Rather than monitoring your brainwaves, Fitbit uses a two throng approach to sleep monitoring. 

Instead of monitoring what is happening in your brain and measuring hormones in your bloodstream, your Fitbit device will “estimate” the sleep pattern using a combination of movement and heart-rate patterns. 

What Should I Know About Fitbit Sleep Stages?

Fitbit detects your sleep stage by monitoring your body movement and heart rate. The best indicator is perhaps your heart rate. 

As you enter a deep sleep state, your heart rate is much slower than while in REM sleep. 

When sleeping, our heart rate changes when we transition between sleep stages. For example, when you are in REM sleep, your heart rate is slightly faster than when you are in a deep sleep. 

Fitbit monitors any changes in your heart rate and records what is going on. When you dream, you will also find that your heart rate is faster. The problem is not everyone who dreams has a faster heart rate. 

It has been proved that yogis often have a slow heartbeat when dreaming and when they are in a deep sleep. What is the reason for that? Yogis have trained, often without knowing, their brains to produce more alpha waves. That could mean they can be in a state of REM sleep but not showing any signs. 

On this occasion, Fitbit will think that they are in a deep sleep when they are in a state of REM sleep. 

How Does Fitbit Know That I Am Asleep? 

That is an excellent question as the total sleep time is a key metric used not only for estimating sleep deprivation but also to calculate the Daily Readiness Score.

If you have not moved for an hour, your Fitbit tracker presumes you are sleeping. Yes, it is true. However, you could be doing something else, including meditating for an hour. Fitbit users who have tried this say that Fitbit can’t distinguish between meditation and sleep. This is simply because Fitbit does not monitor brainwaves. 

When you meditate, your brainwaves act very differently from sleeping. The alpha waves we produce when we meditate are more powerful in many ways. That is why you will often feel more energized after a meditation session. 

Most of the time, you meditate when sitting up. But, as you are still, Fitbit still estimates that you are asleep. 

Does Fitbit Work to Track Sleep Apnea?

Can I use my Fitbit to track sleep apnea? First, let’s make this question a bit clearer. 

Maybe it is better to ask if Fitbit can help diagnose sleep apnea? 

Sleep apnea is a very complex condition. It can involve anything from irregular breathing to someone stopping to breathe entirely for a short time. 

It would be tempting to think that Fitbit could diagnose sleep apnea, but it can’t.

The upside is that Fitbit can help you discover that you have a sleep problem and fundamentally track your sleep. 

You must appreciate that Fitbit is not a diagnostic tool. You can, however, use the information your gained from your Fitbit to address a sleep concern you may have with a doctor. 

If your doctor thinks it is a good idea, he can refer you to a sleep specialist. 

How To View Sleep Data On Fitbit?

When you want to view your Fitbit sleep data, all you have to do is sync your device with the app. 

Simply tap the sleep tile and tap today. When it says that you are “analyzing your sleep,” Fitbit has not had a chance to sync your data. Your device needs to catch up with your morning routine. 

Once you have tapped the expand icon, you can find out more about your sleep stages by swiping the screen on your device. Finally, tap the icon when you want to close.

You can scroll down to view how long Fitbit estimates you spent in light sleep, deep sleep, or REM sleep. 

What Kind Of Sleep Tracking Does Fitbit Do? 

Fitbit can only estimate the three primary stages of sleep. So the best way to put it is that your Fitbit will make an educated guess if you are in light sleep, deep sleep, or experiencing REM sleep. 

Can my Fitbit tell me if I am dreaming? If you are one of these people who can’t remember their dreams, you may like to know if you dream. 

Fitbit can’t tell you that you are dreaming or not. To find if you are dreaming is a much more complicated diagnostic process. 

However, Fitbit can estimate when you are in REM sleep. That is when you are much more likely to dream. But, we are beginning to learn more about sleep. It could be that you dream during other sleep stages as well. 

The problem with dreaming is that most brains paralyze the muscles when we sleep. So your Fitbit is unfortunately not going to tell you if you have had any dreams during the night. 

Why Do I See Awake Minutes? 

Sleep analysis in clinics has shown that adults and teens wake up about 5 – 30 times per night. 

So, it is possible that you were awake for a short time at various stages during the night. 

The thing is that if you are only awake for very brief periods, your brain will erase your memory of being awake. However, your Fitbit will have estimated that you were awake. 

Why Should You Consider Tracking Your Sleep? 

Tracking your sleep is a good idea when you think you may have a problem with your sleep patterns or suffer from insomnia. 

When you analyze the data that your Fitbit has provided you with, you can go ahead and make a few conclusions on your own. 

Here is an example for you. If you have problems with random sleep disruptions and can’t figure out why your sleep quality is poor, you can use the data from your Fitbit.

Before you go to bed, make a note of what you were doing. If you are spending a great deal of time on your smartphone or other electronic devices, check your sleep quality in the morning. If you only managed a lot of light sleep, it is better to make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, put your devices away for the evening, and see if you sleep better. 

Do it for a couple of nights in a row. You may find that it is your gadgets that are upsetting your sleep. In that case, find something else to do in the evening. Unfortunately, Smart TVs can also negatively affect our sleep quality. 

Why not try adult coloring, reading a book, or diamond painting. Maybe you could even watch an ASMR video or listen to ASMR?

What About Exercise And Sleep Quality? 

You may think that exercising just before you go to bed at night will improve sleep quality. 

If you do this and still wake up feeling tired in the morning, you should ask yourself what is happening. 

Check your Fitbit and find out how you slept that night. If you feel so tired when you come home that you just “crashed,” you may experience a lot of deep sleep. 

The problem with deep sleep is that it interferes with our melatonin production. For you to feel energized and ready to go in the morning, the level of melatonin needs to drop off gradually. When you have experienced mainly deep sleep, that does not happen. That is why you still feel tired in the morning. 

To work well, your body does need to go through the different stages of sleep. Your Fitbit can help you and guide you in the right direction. That is why so many athletes like to use it when monitoring their sleep patterns. 

How Did My Fitbit Track My Sleep When I Wasn’t Wearing It? 

If you have taken it off and not turned off the sleep mode function, your Fitbit will presume you are asleep when there is no movement. 

You may have put your watch by your bedside. As long as you have the sleep mode engaged, the device will continue to analyze and monitor it. 

When you don’t want Fitbit to monitor your sleep, all you have to do is switch it off. 

Let’s Wrap It Up

Fitbit can indeed give you an indication that you may have a sleep disorder or a sleep problem. However, you should see your doctor when you think you have a severe problem.

A fitness tracker such as the Fitbit allows defining a Fitbit Sleep Score that may improve sleep efficiency and ultimately get rid of sleep medicines.

If you have bouts of poor sleep or even insomnia, find out what is going on in your life. For example, are you exercising too late or simply can’t put your phone down? If so, check your Fitbit and find out how Fitbit tracks sleep to help you sleep better.