FitBit, known for its fitness racking devices, is rolling out a new app with features designed to help you monitor and improve your sleep patterns.
The Sleep Schedule App
The new Sleep Schedule app can give you recommendations about when to go to bed, based on your previous sleep patterns, and also a vibrating alarm that will wake you up, without disturbing anyone else asleep in the bed.
The app is available as a free update. There are two different modes you can use, sensitive mode, which will record almost all movements as time spent awake, which FitBit recommend for people with sleep disorders or those who wear the device somewhere other than their wrist when they sleep.
The other is Normal mode, which requires a much bigger, more significant movement for you to be registered as being awake, and this is the advised mode for most users.
Regular sleep patterns are important
It has long been recognized that a regular sleep pattern helps the body to recuperate. By going to bed at a consistent time, your body starts to know when to begin the shutting down process, making it easier to go to sleep.
Your internal clock can be set, through reinforcement, like when you have a regular alarm time, you will find that after a couple weeks you will often wake up a few minutes before it actually goes off.
Some people need a good eight hours sleep, others can get by on just four or five hours, but what is most important is having those sleep hours at the same time as often as possible.
That is the goal of the new app, stated Melanie Chase, director of product marketing at Fitbit, when talking to The Huffington Post. The app is “to help guide you to get a more consistent pattern of sleep.”
Michael Grandner, one of FitBit’s ‘sleep experts’ and director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona said in a statement, “If you’re constantly changing your sleep routine, it can have the same effect as giving yourself jet lag.”
He added, “you should aim to get a sufficient amount of sleep each night and be consistent with the times you go to sleep and wake up each day.”
The app uses your previous sleeping patterns to make bespoke recommendations for the time you should be going to sleep and waking up. It will send push notifications through your smartphone to remind you.
“Getting enough sleep and regularly going to bed around the same time each night can be a challenge,” Chase also stated. “The app’s new tools look at your data, analyze it for patterns and create a personalized sleep schedule for you.”
Sounds like when you were little and your mom tells you it’s bedtime. However, unlike when mom tells you, you can choose to override the advice if you so wish, for example, if there has been a change in your schedule.
Compatible but no REM monitoring
The app will work with any FitBit device that monitors sleep, and can also be used with the manual sleep tracking from FitBit One.
One feature the app does not have is any indication of how deep your sleep was on a given night. Unlike other sleep tracking applications, it will not tell you how much REM sleep versus light sleep. This is important as this is what will affect how tired you feel the next day.