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Study Shows Fitbit HR-Tracking Devices Accurately Track Light, REM & Deep Sleep Stages



Fitbit is one of the biggest names in the industry when it comes to connected health systems and trackers, etc. We all know how reliable they are and how they deliver exactly what they are supposed to do. Most of the Fitbit trackers are feature packed as well. They have a bunch of tracking capabilities like step counter, floor counter, sleep tracker, etc. And recently, the company has validated the ability of their wrist trackers which comes with movement and cardiac sensors.

A bunch of newly launched trackers by the company like the Alta HR, Fitbit Blaze, and Fitbit Charge 2 were validated to determine light, deep & REM sleep stages. And guess what? The results were surprisingly good. These results which were scored by polysomnography technicians demonstrate that these devices can be used to track sleep stages with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Yes, you don’t really need a high-cost artificial sleep environment of a sleep laboratory to track these stage in a normal adult sleeper.

Fitbit’s new smartwatch launch pushed back to this fall

It has also been reported that Dr. Conor Heneghan, lead sleep research scientist at Fitbit, will present the findings of the study, “Estimation of Sleep Stages Using Cardiac and Accelerometer Data from a Wrist-Worn Device,” at SLEEP 2017. The SLEEP 2017 is a joint conference of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society and will take place in Boston from June 3-6th.

Also, in April 2017, Fitbit introduced some new features to track your sleep better using the trackers such as Alta HR, Blaze and Charge 2 with sleep stages. It uses your heart rate variability to estimate the amount of time spent in light, deep and REM sleep. It will also monitor the times you were awake to help you better understand the quality of your sleep. Fitbit has truly transformed the way people now understand all these details about their sleeping habits.


Fitbit also has the most extensive, longitudinal database on sleep in the world with over four billion nights of sleep tracked since 2010. Using all this info, they recently conducted an analysis of millions of nights of anonymized and aggregated Fitbit sleep stages. And the observations uncovered from these analyses are as follows –

  • While sleeping longer will lead to getting deeper and REM sleep, sleeping 7-8 hours gives you the highest combined percentage of time in these stages. Sleeping less than 7 hours will lead to deep and REM stages being a smaller proportion of your overall sleep.
  • Waking up earlier than usual can impact the percentage of REM sleep you get, which occurs more at the end of the night.
  • When getting five hours or less of sleep a night, users get a smaller percentage of deep sleep, which occurs near the beginning of the night. Deep sleep is important for many physical processes such as cell regeneration, human growth hormone secretion and feeling refreshed in the morning.
  • People are unconsciously awake at night; the average awake time adds up to 55 minutes or 10-15% of the night. Short periods of awake time are a normal component of a healthy sleep cycle.

If you are not aware of how the software works and what details are highlighted, take a look at the screenshots that we have attached below –


They also did a bunch of other studies and concluded that most adults need to consistently sleep 7-9 hours per night. Fitbit analysis shows that age and gender impact your sleep cycle. The research has also shown that most spend 50-60% of their night in light sleep, 10-15% in a deep sleep, and 20-25% in REM sleep. To dig deeper into this, here are some of the insights for you –

  • Gen Z (age 13-22) sleeps the most, averaging 6 hours and 57 minutes of sleep a night with 17% of the time in deep sleep.
  • Women sleep an average of 25 more minutes a night than men and have a higher percentage of REM sleep.
  • People get less deep sleep as they age, decreasing from an average of 17% at age 20 to 12% at age 70.

With that said, we would like to know your thought on the Fitbit fitness trackers? Do you use one and if yes, then how has your experience been? Be sure to let us know by dropping a comment down below and also, stay tuned to PhoneRadar for more updates like this.


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