Fitbit is overhauling its sleep tracking, with a raft of new features and analysis.
It’s launching a new Sleep Profiles feature (exclusively for Premium users) that aims to personalize and adapt your sleep tracking to make it more useful.
The company has analysed 1.87 million sleep logs from its 22 billion hours of collated sleep data since 2009 to try and add context to your slumber.
Before you get the juicy stuff, the feature first needs to clock up 14 sleeps, to ascertain your normal patterns and start the analysis. There’s some new metrics at play, so even if you’re already using your Fitbit nightly, you’ll still need to set a new baseline.
The new Fitbit Sleep Profiles leverages sleep schedule variability, time before sound sleep and disrupted sleep for the first time, expanding the amount of metrics captured by the app.
It also factors in existing metrics such as sleep duration, restfulness and REM sleep.
When you’ve established your baselines you get your Sleep Profile.
This includes assigning you a sleep animal, the characteristics of which relate to your own sleep habits and circadian rhythms – the natural cycles that lead us to sleep. This is an established idea known as chronotypes, and we’ve seen this implementation before in wearables, on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Fitbit is using slightly different animals, but the idea is the same.
The animals include a hedgehog (nocturnal type), giraffe (short sleeper), tortoise (long times in bed) or parrot (quick to fall asleep), bear (consistant sleeper) and dolphin (restless).
The idea of using the sleep animal is to help understand your own sleep habits and characteristics – and these can change as your sleep adapts.
But users will also receive a monthly sleep report, with detailed breakdowns of the new sleep schedule variability, time before sound sleep and disrupted sleep metrics.
It’s an even deeper look at your sleep than Fitbit already offers, and its tracking is already some of the best in the business. Of course, the aim is to promote better habits and effect positive change – and it remains to be seen how effective this can be.
Renewed focus on sleep tracking
Sleep tracking has been a staple of fitness tracking – and the Fitbit experience – from the outset of wearables. And it’s still one of the most used features of wearables.
We’ve seen Apple improve its basic sleep tracking in watchOS 9, and wearables such as Whoop 4.0 and Oura 3 focus on rest – and the effect it has on our bodies.
The conundrum has always been how wearables can go from tracking sleep to effecting change.
And while we’ve seen the emergence of sleep stages, sleep breathing, restlessness and night-time heart rate, questions still remain about how useful sleep tracking can be.
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