Image source: Fitbit

Fitbit records only half of my sleep, here’s how to fix

You may notice sometimes that the Fitbit on your wrist has not recorded a full night’s sleep. Here’s what you can do to fix the problem.

Gone are the days when you had to press a button in order for your smartwatch or fitness tracker to start recording a sleep session. These days devices use an accelerometer and heart rate sensor to automatically detect when you’ve gone to bed. The first analyzes movements, the second the rhythm of your heart. This is great, while it works.

Sometimes you might wake up in the morning and find that only half of your sleep session was recorded. Something has gone wrong and the Fitbit has not done a good job. It makes that night’s data pretty useless.

A good example is the Fitbit Inspire 2. At the start of this year many users were complaining that the device would not track sleep – at all. We wrote a piece at the time on how to resolve. This was a major issue at the time.

Essential reading: Sleep tracking for those with a Fitbit

Incomplete sleep data is a more common problem and can affect any Fitbit. It doesn’t matter if it’s the recent crop such as Sense, Versa 3 or Charge 4 – or an older device. It happens on occasion.

Fitbit does not record a full night’s sleep – how to fix

This issue most often occurs when you get up in the middle of the night. You might find that the Fitbit on your wrist splits the night into two or more separate sleep sessions. It could even disregard one part of the night entirely. Not good.

Start with this

First off, you should always try turning the wearable on and off – i.e. a soft restart. That reboots your device but keeps all you data on it. Think of it like switching a desktop computer on and off. This simple thing can resolve many problems and is something definitely worth trying out.

Another default fix is making sure the smartphone app and hardware firmware is up to date. Sometimes there are bugs and issues and the latest version of the software contains the fix.

Yes, it can be a risk sometimes updating to the latest version of the software but in the long run you are better off. Fitbit has been known to release buggy software updates but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Is the heart rate sensor enabled?

Next up you should check the hart rate setting. This should be set to “On” because Fitbit uses the sensor to figure out when you are asleep and for sleep stage info. Even if you think it’s on – double-check. You may have inadvertently switched it off.

The device on your wrist might record sleep even with the heart rate monitor off. But you will not get any sleep stage info – just the basics.

Try wearing the device on the other wrist

Strapping the wearable around your non-dominant wrist might increase accuracy. This is because the non dominant hand tends to move less. Fewer movements point to more kip time.

You need at least 3 hours of consecutive sleep

One thing to be aware of is that you need at least 3 consecutive hours of sleep in order for sleep stage info to be recorded. Shorter sleep sessions will record but without this type of info. In fact, the data will be quite limited. Fitbit keeps tabs on all naps that last more than an hour.

A workaround if only half of your sleep has been recorded

There is a workaround if you find your nightly sleep data is incomplete. It is a manual solution that is not ideal – but may be better than doing nothing.

You can edit the sleep log in the smartphone app by tapping the 3 dots in the upper right corner of each sleep session. This gives you the option to edit or delete the line.

So let’s say you have two separate sleep sessions for the night. You could delete the first one and edit the start of the second one to coincide with when you actually went to bed. It’s a good way of merging two or more half-night segments.

The sleep stage info will be a bit messed up but the length of the sleep session will be correct. You might even find that sleep stage info has been deleted entirely for that night.

No luck?

As good as the device on your wrist is, it is not perfect. Issues like this will happen from time to time. It’s not good, however, if it becomes a regular occurance. Unless you are sleepwalking, there may be an issue with the hardware. So best to contact Fitbit Support for a possible resolution.

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