Connected health and fitness market brand Fitbit has released a free app that tracks sleep to help guide its user with a personalized sleep schedule. The app is intended however for those who are already using the global brand’s range of products that are designed to assist individuals achieve their health and fitness goals.
The app, which had a Philippine launch in June, heralds a series of new sleep features being developed in collaboration with the company’s new panel of leading sleep experts that includes Drs. Michael Grandner at the University of Arizona, Allison Siebern at Stanford University, and Michael Smith at Johns Hopkins University.
The Fitbit app is a vital part of the Fitbit platform – consisting of devices, apps, social and motivational features, advice and personalized coaching – which is continually getting smarter and easier to use with features like automatic sleep tracking and exercise recognition to make tracking your health and fitness effortless. Working in harmony, the Fitbit platform helps people make behavioral changes to be more active, exercise more, eat smarter, track their sleep and manage their weight. While many people understand the benefits and importance of a good night’s sleep for their health, getting enough sleep (seven to nine hours) and regularly going to bed around the same time each night can be a challenge.
According to the sleep experts, adhering to a consistent sleep routine is one of the most important things people can do to improve their sleep: “If you’re constantly changing your sleep routine, it can have the same effect as giving yourself jetlag because you are continually changing your circadian rhythm, also known as your internal clock, which can negatively impact your health and wellness,” said Michael Grandner, PhD, MTR, C BSM. “To improve your physical performance, mental health and cognitive functions, 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. Fitbit’s new Sleep Schedule tool makes it easier for people to see how much sleep they’re actually getting in order to establish a healthy routine – this has the potential to help millions of people around the world improve their sleep and overall wellbeing, which is really exciting.”
Research has shown that getting enough sleep can also positively impact how much you exercise the next day and is vital to post-training recovery, playing an integral role in the body’s ability to repair itself. Additionally, their data also shows a correlation between consistent bedtimes and daily active minutes, especially for users who go to bed early each night. Users who sleep an average of seven to nine hours nightly also have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who sleep only 3 to 4 hours per night, while those who are overweight or obese (BMI over 25) on average sleep over an hour (70 minutes) less per week than those with a normal BMI (BMI 18.5-25).
“What’s great about the new Sleep Schedule feature is that it looks at your sleep data from your Fitbit device you’re wearing day and night, analyzes it for patterns and creates a personalized schedule just for you,” said Tim Roberts, Executive Vice President for Interactive. “This is a great example of how we’re providing guidance using Fitbit data to help millions of people develop healthier habits and routines, and is just the first in a series of new sleep features that we’re working on to help our users improve their health through data and coaching.”
Enhanced sleep tracking features
The new Sleep Schedule features on the app will help users meet sleep goals and maintain a more consistent pattern of sleep through these tools:
Sleep goal: Based on your sleep data from your tracker, you can follow the app’s personalized recommendations or set your target number of hours to make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night.
Targets: Based on your sleep goal and past sleep behavior from your tracker, the app will recommend target bedtime and wake up times. You can customize these based on your personal preferences and schedule.
Reminders: To help you reach your sleep goal and regularly go to bed and wake up more consistently, you can receive push notification reminders on your smartphone. You can also set a silent wake alarm on your Fitbit tracker based on your wake up target.
History chart: Track your sleep consistency over time to determine if you’re meeting your goals or if you need to adjust your sleep schedule.