I Need Some ZZZ’s! – A Look at the Sleep Tracking Abilities of the UP and Fitbit Flex

I would love to sleep 8 hours a night. Hey, a girl can dream, right?

Sleep is so precious! And it’s very important for a healthy lifestyle and weight loss. One of the reasons I love activity tracking devices is they give me an overall picture of my total well being, including my sleep pattern.

Before I wore both the UP and the Fitbit Flex I thought my sleep was horrible. Well, I still kind of feel that way, but they tell me a slightly different story. The fact that the two devices agree with each other, for the most part, makes me feel a little better about my sleep. Hey, I might feel tired and sluggish, but the graph shows I slept well! The power of positive thinking goes a long way, or at least until nap time!

What Exactly do they Tell You about your Restful Night?

(I have an iPhone 4s and all information here is based on the iPhone apps).

The graphs show the same particular night’s sleep.  The UP is on the left, the Flex on the right.

UP Sleep Graph.  The dark blue estimates deep sleep, the light blue estimates light sleep, and the orange shows getting up and moving around.

UP Sleep Graph.
The dark blue estimates deep sleep, the light blue estimates light sleep, and the orange shows getting up and moving around.

The Flex Sleep Graph. The dark blue shows sleep. The light blue shows being awake and the red shows being restless.

The Flex Sleep Graph.
The dark blue shows sleep. The light blue shows being awake and the red shows being restless.

The Breakdown

The UP App

  • The graph is easier to read and gives a lot of detailed information.
  • I really can’t argue with any of it, except it says I woke up 2x. I really got up 2x, but woke up many more times without actually getting up. The app tends to show your awake time as light sleep.

The Flex App

  • The graph leaves a lot to be desired compared to the UP. It’s very general.
  • The only specifics it gives is how long you slept and how many times you woke up.  On this particular night it says I woke up 9x. This is very sad, but probably true!
  • The Fitbit website is more impressive than the app. The website will also tell you your sleep efficiency. (The % of time you spend in bed that you’re asleep). On this particular night my sleep efficiency was 93%. Not bad IF it’s true! Still, I wish all the info. available on the website was available in the app as well!

Despite the Differences, Both were very Similar in Estimating Total Hours Slept

  • 50% of the time they reported total time slept within 6 minutes of each other. This is pretty impressive to me as I generally lie awake for at least an hour every night.
  • For the most part, the Flex told me I slept longer than the UP.

3rd Party Apps

There are 3rd party sleep apps that you can sync your devices with to supposedly improve your experience. Once linked, your device automatically sends your sleep data to the app.  Here’s the scoop on what I found.

Sleepio for the UP

Sleepio is a 6 week program ‘clinically proven’ to help you overcome poor sleep. You don’t have to have an activity tracking device to use this program, but it does import your sleep data if you do.

They give you a one week free trial. After filling out a questionnaire about your lifestyle habits, you are directed to your first interactive session with The Prof (who is animated and has a dog named Pavlov). This session lasts around 20 minutes, clarifies your goals and explains how the program works. Near the end of the session, The Prof creates a case file for you like the one below.

This is my Case File after my free Sleepio session

This is my Case File after my free Sleepio session

You can only have one session with The Prof per week, so to continue the program you must upgrade. Prices range from $10 per week, to $80 for the entire course with a 12 week access, to $120 for a 24 week access.

You set your own goals, but their goal for you is to get your sleep efficiency to at least 90%. Since mine is shown here at 92%, I really can’t justify continuing.

The program also includes an extensive library of links to articles on sleep and an online sleep deprived community who support one another.

I’m not panning this app at all. It might be helpful to some people, but not to me at this time.

SleepDebt for Fitbit Flex

This description of SleepDebt is taken directly from the website.

“SleepDebt connects with your Fitbit to analyze your sleep data and debt. Set what time you want to wake up and how many hours of sleep you are aiming for per night, and the site will let you know what time you should go to sleep. Each night, it helps you catch up on your sleep, until you clear your sleep debt. We encourage you not to try to catch up all at once, so the site will only recommend 30% of your sleep debt at a time. Catch up on your sleep finally!”

So I input my information, and this is what came back:

After telling SleepDebt I want to aim for 8 hours sleep as well as catch up on my 'debt' a little, they suggested I go to bed before 7 pm.

After telling SleepDebt I want to aim for 8 hours sleep as well as catch up on my ‘debt’ a little, they suggested I go to bed before 7 pm.

They suggest I go to bed before 7 pm?  This is not helpful. I’m not impressed at all.

Usually I give sit-UPS on a scale of 1 to 5 to rate things.  This app doesn’t even make the sit-UP scale.  I’m giving it a DOWNward Dog. Sorry SleepDebt!

The ReCap

I like having a visual of my sleep in the form of a graph.

Do I believe I sleep as well as they say? Not usually.

Does it make me feel better to see that I actually did sleep when I think I didn’t? Absolutely!

The sleep tracking abilities are far from perfect but I find them helpful.  I love that the 2 devices, made from different companies, give me a very similar picture of my sleep.  Although I do prefer the UP app over the Flex, they both do a pretty good job.

The 3rd party apps don’t seem helpful to me, but perhaps to someone!

Until next time, wishing you sweet dreams and uninterrupted sleep!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s