Fitbit: Sleep Tracking

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while are well aware that I suffer from insomnia.  Probably from squeezing so much awesome into all this plus sized cuteness, right?  In fact, I’m so awesome that I have to resort to prescription drugs to catch my z’s – but that’s another habit I hope to kick in 2013.  I think it’s reasonable to expect that once I start consistently shaking my moneymaker I’ll be a lot more tired at night…don’t you?

I’m using one of the coolest tools around to help me hit my 2013 goal of making exercise a consistent habit:  the Fitbit Ultra tracker.  If you’re not up to speed with this little badass bit of technological goodness, click here to read about my first experience with it.  One of the features of the Fitbit Ultra activity tracker is that it monitors your sleep.  I kid you not.

The technological geniuses over at Fitbit have several activity tracking devices to choose from.  Some offer more features than others, some are at a lower price point than others.  I have the Fitbit Ultra, which I recently purchased, but don’t see on their website, so I’ll have to ask them about that.  Stay tuned!!  I encourage you to check out their website for complete info on all the devices they have to offer.

The sleep tracking feature has been really interesting for me to play with – and I would imagine it could be very enlightening to some folks who might unknowingly suffer from sleep apnea and have no idea. It tracks how many times the user wakes up during the night.  I average around 11 times.  I have no idea if that’s normal, especially since I take medication to help me sleep, but I plan on sharing that information with my doctor the next time I see him just to make sure.

Likewise, I can imagine that the sleep tracking feature could be very enlightening for anyone who sleep walks and has no idea.  Like Hot Mess Hubby.  Seriously…he thought he was stumbling into the bathroom one night and peed on a ficus in our bedroom instead.  Try explaining that to the carpet cleaning guy.

To track my sleep, I just slip the Fitbit Ultra into a little slot on the wrist band that came with it.  (Normally during the day I keep Fitbit clipped to my bra.)  When I lurch out of bed the next morning, I log in to my Fitbit online account and enter the time I went to bed and the time I got out of bed. Simple.  Here’s what Fitbit had to say about last night’s sleep:











As you can see, it took me an hour and 11 minutes to fall asleep.  This is actually pretty accurate.  I was reading in bed last night.  Fitbit sensed that I was flipping pages on my Kindle (or petting Caesar the crabby tabby when he head-butts said Kindle).  Once I fell asleep, I awoke 8 times.

I don’t track my sleep every night.  Why?  I’m not sure why I should.  I guess I don’t understand the benefits of daily sleep tracking.  Maybe I’ll throw that in the email I send them about the Ultra.  I do find it useful, though, and I’ll definitely publish follow-up posts if I hear back from Fitbit – and when I discuss the 11 average wake-ups with my doctor.

Fitbit provides this answer on their website to the question “Why should I track my sleep?”

“Fitbit’s sleep tracking is based on research conducted by sleep labs. Following body movement during sleep provides a measurement of the quality of rest. Tossing and turning in one’s sleep, which can be detected by Fitbit Trackers, is indicative of restlessness.”

As I motor through 2013 on my way to a healthier, more active lifestyle I hope to ween myself off all sleep medications…and maybe I can put a dent in those wake-ups – although, according to Fitbit, I’m a fairly efficient sleeper.  Obviously, they’re not taking 130 pound half-wit dogs into account.








See, Dyson doesn’t like to be reminded that there are other dogs in the world. I left the tv on in the living room and got the bejesus scared out of me when he started barking like there was a serial killer on the front porch. Maybe Fitbit can come up with a dog collar that wirelessly connects to my Ultra tracker and shouts “No!” if I’m sleeping peacefully and he opens his doggy yap.

Hey, I can dream.

Have you been motivated to grab a Fitbit tracker because of this blog?  I’d love to hear what you have to say about your own experience.  Share your experience here!


24 thoughts on “Fitbit: Sleep Tracking

  1. I love my FitBit (I have the FitBit One). I’ve used it to track sleep (but again not every night) -mostly because I forget to set the sleep mode LOL. The only thing I’m still having issues with is the “stair” tracker – sometimes it just seems too high for what I’ve done during the day.

    1. Lauren, you might want to contact Fitbit to ask them about that…I keep hearing that they have excellent customer service!!!

      1. Apparently quite a few people have the issue. Found numerous postings on the FitBit group boards. It’s because the FitBit uses air pressure to measure changes in “altitude”. So, I’ll just have to pay more attention to the steps than floors 🙂

        1. Ooooh, Lauren! I’m flying to Cali in a few weeks to see my family. I wonder what my Fitbit will say I climbed then. LOL

  2. I got the fitbit because of your blog
    Never heard of one before you mentioned it. I only
    have mine for 2 days now but i love how it tracks my sleep
    and how it counts steps. I also love the option of logging my food and water.

    1. I’m so glad you’re happy with it, Petra!!! 🙂 Happy to be Fitbit sistahs with you!

  3. I have a fitbit and I love it! I do wear it while sleeping and last night showed I woke up 11 times and today I definitely feel like it too 🙁
    What I love is that I have one of the older fit bits and the base itsn’t working right. A quick e-mail with me asking a couple of questions and bam! they’re sending me a new one. I love their customer service.

    1. That’s great to hear, Suzanne! I do hear from many peeps that they really care about their customers!!

  4. I have a fitbit as well and I got it because of your comments. I have the fitbit one. I think that’s the same as the ultra, just a new name. It monitors sleep and stairs just like yours does. On mine, when I monitor the sleep cycle, I just hold the button down for 2 seconds when I’m close to falling asleep. Then I hold it down for 2 seconds in the morning when I get up. I have the option of entering the time on the dashboard in the morning when I get up just like you do but I’ve never tried it that way yet.

    It’s a great tool for motivating myself to go just that little bit farther. Right now I have 9017 steps for the day. Just a little extra walking and I’ll have 10,000! I’ve also done a much better job of climbing stairs. I don’t have any inside my apartment, but there’s a set of stairs right outside my door. Of course the neighbors look at me like I’m kinda strange as I climb up & down those stairs but…

  5. I think the Ultra is the older model of the One. I wake up 8-12 times a night and I feel like I sleep pretty well … but … it only takes me a couple of minutes to fall asleep.

    Lauren – for “stairs” it counts every 10 feet in elevation as a flight so if your work place or building is on the slightest of inclines you may get flights you don’t ever realize! Bonus! I run stairs at the local high school and it is pretty accurate.

    Here’s how pathetically competitive I am – Dianne, you know how California is- Lots of hills right? So I live on a hill and from my house to the top of my street (maybe 7 or 8 houses) it is 5 flights. Two times up my hill fulfills my goal. One night I had made all my goals except stairs. It was 11:30pm. I took the dogs and ran up the hill twice.

    I love my fitbit!

    1. Jenifer, I can’t get the smile off my face after reading your comment. 🙂 I totally get that!!!

    2. Thanks Jenifer 🙂 That makes sense to me….what is slightly annoying is when I track flights while driving in the car lol

      1. I do sometimes too. For the most part I think it’s accurate. I took a walk a couple of days ago and it said I climbed 30 flights. I mapped my route on and that site said there was an elevation gain of 300 feet … so … perfectly accurate. I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It’s all a really good educated estimation anyway – just to keep you moving!

  6. I want to get one!! Saving my pennies until I can. Target had them on sale this last weekend for $10 off… But sheesh, big discount, right? Maybe soon. Keep on, keeping on, Princess!

  7. I bought my fitbit after the first of the year after reading your posts about it. It certainly has been an eye opener about how little I move during the day. But, the good news is that it has motivated me to move more where i can. I shake my tooshie as i wait for my coffee to brew, etc. I stay up pretty late so I can see my boyfriend at least once during the day (he works swing shift, i work normal hours). So, if it’s getting close to midnight and i haven’t reached my goal, i get up and start moving. I think the sleep feature is interesting, i like to see how much i’ve actually slept and how many times i’ve woken up. All in all a great investment since i have started moving my rear ends more!

  8. i don’t have a fitbit yet, but have been doing research on them and saving up. thanks to everyone for posting comments! it sounds like a great tool!

  9. I did buy a fitbit One upon your recommendation. I’m pretty happy with it overall. The first few nights I used the sleep function, I had it set to “normal,” and I know I got much less sleep than it said I did, since I looked at the clock a dozen times during the night. Switching the setting to sensitive improved the accuracy a lot.
    Activity-wise, it seems pretty close. There’s a place to enter running stride length, but no instructions on how to determine what that number is. Walking stride is the same way.
    I wish that I could update throughout the day on my droid razr. It looks like there is an update option for samsung devices, but not for motorola devices. Boo. But maybe soon…

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