Announced in August, Fitbit is working on a sleep app that will take monitoring your nightly rest to a whole new level.
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The company is utilizing the relative SpO2 sensor which was slapped on to the Ionic, Versa and most recently the Charge 3 to arrive at deeper sleep insights. Owners of these devices have patiently been waiting for the tech to be put to real-world use. Hopefully, the wait will soon be over. The sensor has the potential to measure oxygen levels in the blood, providing information on how well the body distributes the gas from the lungs to all of its cells.
A Sleep Score Beta version was launched in November. It works via the website dashboard rather than a standalone app. Those that want to try it out will need to log into their account on Fitbit’s website. Once inside, head over to the dashboard, click on “More info” by hovering on top of the sleep panel, choose the “Labs” tab along the top of the screen, then choose “Sleep Score Beta” and follow the instructions to register.
The program is open for enrollment to Fitbit users with one of the SpO2 enabled devices who reside in the United States, United Kingdom or Australia. The San Francisco manufacturer stresses that Sleep Score Beta is currently experimental in nature and that it will only be available for a limited period of time. Presumably it will then morph into an app that everyone with an Ionic, Versa or Charge 3 will be able to install on their smartphone.
By default Fitbit users can find basic sleep insights in the Fitbit app including info on when they went to sleep and woke up, time spent in each stage of sleep (awake, REM, Light, Deep), along with benchmarks and other information.
Sleep Score Beta aims to give users deeper insights into their kip time with info on how sleep patterns are contributing to their overall health. I’ve been using it over the past few days and can say its very impressive, and much better than anything I’ve seen so far from a smartwatch or fitness tracker.
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Each morning the website dashboard presents you with a survey form. This consists of multiple choice questions such as “How did you feel about last night’s sleep?”, “How would you rate your mood when you woke up”, “How much energy did you have when you woke up?” and more. Fill this in and a new screen will open up showing six charts.
The first of these is a nightly score ranging from 0 to 100 letting you know at a glance how well you slept. This is calculated by combining info on: total sleep time compared to your sleep goal; how often you woke up throughout the night; how long it took you to fall back to sleep; time in Deep sleep; time in REM sleep; how often you tossed and turned; your heart rate while sleeping; and any potential breathing disturbances.
This data is then measured against known averages for your age and gender. The last item on the list suggests that Fitbit is utilizing the SpO2 sensor, although the company doesn’t explicitly state this. You’ll also get personalized advice to help you improve everything from your bedtime routine to stress levels.
The single all-encompassing metric is very useful as it allows you to easily monitor progress on a daily basis. As shown in the chart above, I haven’t been doing that well over the past few days. A combination of going to bed late accompanied by waking up early is the culprit.
In addition to the overall sleep score the company has established three pillars that contribute to a solid night’s rest. This includes Sleep Duration, Sleep Depth and Revitalization. Each of these is presented in a separate 0-100 timeline chart.
Sleep Duration is based on your overall sleep goals. Hit your bedtime and wake-up goals to increase your score. A factor that can pull your score down is waking up too often throughout the night (as compared to others around your age and gender).
Sleep Depth is a score that is based on how much time you spend in individual sleep stages. Lots of Deep and REM sleep will increase your score (particularly if it compares well against known averages for your age and gender). These stages are important for replenishing muscles and improving memory.
Revitalization explores breathing disturbances (excessive movement and changes in oxygen levels), your heart rate and more to show your sleep’s restfulnesses. This is presumably where the SpO2 sensor comes in.
The final two charts illustrate a timeline of your sleep duration, Deep and REM sleep. This provides a neat weekly overview showing how often you met your sleep goal and the time spend in these all important sleep stages. As shown below, I do need to work harder on hitting my goals!
As its name implies, Sleep Score Beta is experimental in nature so its quite possible some of the above mentioned features do not make it into the final version. We may also see some new functionality added on. For example, it would be useful if there was a chart showing your SpO2 levels during the night.
Fitbit has yet to specify a date for the public release but the current features certainly do look promising.
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