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March 13th 2010 4:34 pm

Sleep Tracking

So far I've heard a lot of positive things about the Fitbit but one thing I'm a little skeptical about is the sleep tracking capabilities. If I read correctly, the Fitbit uses an accelerometer to track your sleeping activity. However I'm not really sure how my movements in bed correlate to my stages of sleep. I toss and turn in my sleep, and I suppose i'm not positive, but i'm pretty confident when I say that every time I roll over i'm not waking up. I guess i'd just like to hear from anyone who has a Fitbit how accurate they feel the sleep tracking is.

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Actually actigraphy (motion detection via accelerometer) is the most common sleep measurement used, outside of sleep labs where they use full on polysomnography studies involving several measurements, and leaving the patient fully wired (no joke it takes around 30, I think minimum 25).

The general idea is that you go between phases in your sleep cycle. Without getting to technical there are 5 phases of sleep: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement, dreaming phase). Usually when you are sleeping, you begin at stage 1 (light sleep and go through each phase until you reach the REM sleep phase. Each complete sleep cycle is around 90 to 110 minutes long, so you go through several of them while sleeping.Your body and brain behaves differently in each phase of sleep. In some of the phases, your body will make movements, and in others your arms and legs will be immobile. So dependent on your movement it's possible to say what stage you are in.
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