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Author's selfieI wonder what happened to sleep? Children often don’t have this problem, except my son, who hates sleeping because he’s too busy creating. But many children, I think, sleep 10 or more hours without thinking about it. Sure, they may have a nightmare or something that wakes them up but then after some soothing words are right back to sleep while the parent imparting those soothing words struggles to do the same.

Tracking Sleep With Fitbit

I track my sleep with my Fitbit, sort of. It uses the accelerometer to track movements in your non-dominant arm. The concept is simple: when you sleep, you don’t move much. Small movements are tagged as ‘restless’ and larger movements as ‘awake’.

Fitbit sleep tracking graph
I’m often not making even a 7 hour goal. Hmmm.

My older Fitbit One doesn’t track sleep stages the way newer devices do by also looking at heart rate. That means that I can be awake, my brain active, not moving and the Fitbit records me as asleep. Even so, despite potential inaccuracies, it gives you a sense of how you’re doing with your sleep.

Isn’t this the perfect example of how sleep has changed since I was a kid? I didn’t even consider tracking sleep until I was in college trying to get together a group to research lucid dreams!

Not that I’m complaining. I like logging data, analyzing it, and considering what we can learn. It’s not the best data right now, although the new devices might be better. For now, I’m going to stick to my current device but I’d be interested in hearing what people think of the Alta HR? How does it work for you?


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This blog post by Ryan M. Williams is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.