The Surprising Truth About Your Fitbit and Sleep

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There is a surprising truth about your Fitbit and sleep. If you’re using a Fitbit or another fitness tracker to get insights so you can improve your sleep, it could be working against you, keeping you awake! While monitoring your sleep can be beneficial, if you go too far or get obsessed with the data provided, you could get so stressed out and anxious that it keeps you awake.

Believe it or not, this disorder is so common that it has its own name. It’s called orthosomnia, and it means you obsess over the results of your sleep tracking.

The Truth About Your Fitbit and Sleep

The women affected by this usually care more about reaching a specific sleep score instead of gathering information about the conditions they need to feel rested and refreshed in the morning.

I’m not saying you need to throw your Fitbit away because I love mine and I’m not throwing her away! Besides, getting enough sleep is an important aspect of self care. But I am realistic about what the little darlin’ can do and  I have some tips on using yours constructively.

How to Use Your FitBit to Track Sleep:

  1. Focus on sleep quality. While getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is an awesome goal, it’s also important to address the quality of your sleep. That may involve how much time you spend in the light and deep stages of sleep and how many times you wake up during the night.
  2. Know what your device can do. Some wearables do nothing more than detect body movements, which may be adequate for counting steps but not for measuring sleep. A Fitbit isn’t a magic wand, the information is directional, not precise.
  3. Talk to your physician. Your physician can help you address any concerns you have about your sleep. They can also provide referrals to specialists and sleep labs in your area.
  4. Visit a sleep lab for diagnosis. Sleep specialists know that a sleep lab is the most accurate way to diagnose a sleep disorder because it measures a wide range of factors, including brain waves and eye movements. You can’t diagnose a sleep disorder by reading an article on an airplane. Pinkie swear.
  5. Take a break from your Fitbit. If you think you might be too preoccupied with the numbers you’re seeing on your Fitbit, schedule a little time apart. Try listening to your body instead. If you wake up in the morning without needing an alarm and you feel energetic, you’re probably sleeping well regardless of your electronic score.
  6. Know that information changes. Some universities and nonprofits are working to make sleep technology more reliable. Keeping up with the latest information can help you make healthier choices.

Don’t Forget These Natural Sleep Remedies:

  1. Go to bed at the same time each night.  Going to bed and getting up at about the same time each day is one of the most reliable ways to beat insomnia. Whether you use a Fitbit or not, it’s the best way to train your body to sleep and wake consistently.
  2. Darken your bedroom. Dimming the lights prepares your brain for bed. Hang heavy drapes in your bedroom and turn off the bright screens on your phone and TV. If you must have the TV on, use the sleep timer so that it turns itself off and doesn’t wake you up.
  3. Eat light later in the day. Heavy late dinners and bedtime snacks can interfere with your sleep. Try drinking a glass of water. Thirst often mimics hunger. If you’re really hungry, try a small serving of unsweetened cereal or a slice of toast.
  4. Block out noise. Are you bothered by heavy traffic and loud neighbors? Use a fan or white noise recording to drown out background sounds. There are some great apps, including Brain.FM, that provide background noise designed to help you fall asleep more quickly.
  5. Change your bedding. Tossing and turning could be a sign that you need a new mattress or pillow. Pick something that’s appropriate for your usual sleep position.

About 20% of Americans own a wearable device, and more than 10% are wearing sleep trackers on at least an occasional basis. If you’re one of them, ensure your device is really helping you.

Were you surprised about how a Fitbit can affect your sleep? As long as you can use your Fitbit without feeling anxious, you may find that collecting your personal data enhances the quality and quantity of your sleep.

Have you overcome stress about your sleep stats? Let us know in the comments below.

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