Tag Archives: IOS

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!

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What’s UP with the UP Band by Jawbone?

I got the UP band in December, 2012. Granted, I had been wearing the Nike+ FuelBand for 6 months. But the UP promised to be different. Maybe even better. More features and less   money?  Sold!

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What is it?

  • A wristband you can wear 24/7
  • Comes in 8 colors: onyx, mint green, blue, light gray, navy blue, red, orange, hunter green
  • Comes in 3 sizes: small, medium, large
  • Compatible with Apple iOS devices (5.1+) and Android (4.0+)
  • Price tag: $129.99

What does Jawbone say the UP does?

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The home screen shows progress of sleep, activity, and meals throughout the day.

         Band + App + You = the UP System

  • The band tracks your movement  and sleep
  • The app displays your data
  • You add things like meals and mood
  • The result = insight into YOU

The Features are Numerous! Here are some that initially peaked my interest:

  • Tracks sleep – light vs. deep sleep and waking moments
  • Tracks activity – distance traveled, calories burned, both active & idle time
  • Tracks food & drink
  • Smart alarm – wakes you at the right moment in your sleep cycle so you feel refreshed
  • Idle Alert – gently vibrates if you’re idle too long
  • 10- day battery life
  • Water resistant

My Experience – Does it Deliver?

What I like Most

(Click on the images for an enlarged view)

The UP App

Graphs and Logging Workouts

The graphs in the app are pretty amazing and give you quick insight into what you’re doing all day (or night).  Take a look at the middle graph. The long orange bars near the end of the day indicate my run. I was able to log it as a workout afterwards. That action produced the 3rd graph which gives details about my run.

Also, unlike the Nike+ FuelBand, you can log and get credit for non-step-based activities including yoga, spin, weights and so much more. (Sorry Nike, they beat you out on this big time).

And this just in: The UP app is now compatible with popular weight loss apps. You can link your accounts through the UP Ap.

Tracking Food & Drink is a Snap!

Logging food is an important part of a weight loss journey and the UP app makes it so easy. It has a massive food data base, and also the option to scan the bar code on an item’s package to input the nutrition info. – Cool!

Adding Teammates to your App Makes it fun!

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I got my husband an UP for his birthday and we’ve been in a friendly competition ever since.

When you add Teammates you can view their activity as well as your own. But don’t worry, you don’t have to share everything.

Here is our activity on a particular day.

Oh, so close!

Long Battery Life

The UP does have an impressive battery life and averages 8-9 days. It also sends a reminder on your phone to charge it when you’re within the last two days of battery life.

Excellent Customer Service

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to talk about contact customer service at this point, as I’ve only had the band for 5 months. However, about 4 months in, the battery wouldn’t hold a charge for even a day.

I contacted Customer Service by email and I had a brand new UP on my wrist within a week. I was super impressed! No hassles at all.

What I don’t Like

Power Nap Feature

This feature is suppose to wake you at the optimal time, anywhere from 25-45 minutes after you fall asleep, so you feel refreshed.  I tried it twice, you know, for research.  Well, it’s true there’s no sleeping on the job.  Both times it gently vibrated 25 minutes from the time I set it. There is too much pressure to fall asleep so fast and actually get some shut eye in such a short time. This feature doesn’t work for me.

No Visual LED Display

Checking your progress throughout the day isn’t as easy with the UP as with the Nike+ FuelBand. There is no display you can see when it’s on your wrist. You have to take it off , plug it into your phone, and wait for the data to upload. This is a drawback for the impatient.

Is the Sleep Data Really Accurate?

If you generally lie awake at night for hours on end, like I do, I think the UP will paint a much brighter picture of your ‘restful’ night. Unless you actually get out of bed, the UP tracks the time you’re lying there awake as light sleep. Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see the breakdown of your sleeping pattern.

The ReCAP

All in all, I love this band.  It has more features than I’ve shared here. It has features I haven’t even used yet. In my opinion, the strengths greatly outweigh the weaknesses. It’s a motivator in getting enough activity in each day and it’s really fun to add and compete with teammates. Although the sleep feature isn’t perfect, it is helpful.  The bottom line is that this little band can aid in leading a more balanced life.

On a scale of 1-5

I give the UP 4.0 sit-UPS

The Nike+ FuelBand – Yay or Nay?

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I absolutely love fitness gadgets!  About a year ago I started hearing people talk about the Nike+ FuelBand, so of course I had to get one.  I’ve been wearing it pretty much ever since. In a nutshell, I love the instant motivation it gives me.

It’s not the only fitness band on the market, and may not be the best one, either. However, I say Yay!

What Is It?

  • A band you wear around your wrist
  • Comes in 3 colors: black, black ice, white ice
  • Comes in 3 sizes: small, medium/large, extra large
  • Price tag: $149.00

What Does Nike+ Say it Does?

  • The band translates your every move into a single number they call NikeFuel
  • NikeFuel reflects your level of effort throughout the day
  • NikeFuel is calculated the same for everyone so you can compare with your friends
  • It estimates calories burned through movement, estimates steps taken, acts as a digital watch and all of this information is easily accessed through the LED display with the press of a button.
  • It’s water resistant (you can wear it in the shower), but not waterproof (don’t wear it swimming).
  • Battery Life is 1-4 days
  • The Fuelband has a limited one-year warranty

My Experience – Does it Deliver?

What I like most

Visual Data

This is what I like most about this band.  Motivating information at the touch of a button!

Syncing to the phone app is a snap once you connect your band via bluetooth.

Excellent Customer Service

You never expect your purchased item to fail, but if it does, it’s nice to know that the Customer Service rocks and the Company stands behind its product.  Nike replaced my band after 11 months. It was easy!

Battery Life

Although the battery life is not as long as other activity tracking bands, it has improved . The battery on my original band lasted 2 days tops.  My current band lasts 3 to 4 days, which is what Nike claims.

What I don’t like

It’s not always a good measure

Although I love racking up my NikeFuel, the band has definite problems distinguishing between the intensity of certain movements. For example, I could possibly earn more fuel during an hour walking around Disneyland or shopping than I would during an hour of heavy weight lifting. As hard as I’m working and sweating, doing squats and pushups has never earned me very much fuel. That makes me sad!

Also, it’s very easy to rack up extra fuel by simply sitting in a chair and waving your arm around. It’s definitely not cheat proof!

Nevertheless, it is a good measure of you against you, from day to day. I happen to like a little friendly competition with myself!

The app doesn’t specify how much fuel you burn for individual activities

In other words, you can’t log a workout anywhere.  The best you can do is look at your current NikeFuel before you begin an activity and again at the end…if you remember.

Price 

Of any comparable product on the market right now, the Nike+ FuelBand is definitely the most expensive.

There isn’t a food journal

The lack of a food journal in the app is the biggest drawback for anyone who is seriously looking to lose weight using this band as a motivator. Other bands do have this feature in their apps. You’re on your own with calorie tracking with this band!

The ReCap

It does seem my reasons not to love the Nike+ FuelBand outweigh the reasons to love it. I mean, it’s lacking in many ways. However, I do really enjoy it. It was my first band and I’ve come to rely on being able to check my progress during the day at the touch of a button. I’m a visual person who is easily motivated by seeing my LED number light up!

On a scale of 1 -5

I give this 3.5 sit-UPS.

Next UP

My next blog will about the UP band by Jawbone.  I really love this one! Stay tuned!