Diabetes

How the Fitbit Versa Changed My Sleep Habits

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You’re probably familiar with the Fitbit family by now, even if you’re not a wearables fan or Fitbit owner. Recently, Fitbit released their most versatile and robust smartwatch yet, the Fitbit Versa.

Many people are diehard Apple Watch fans; others are adamant Fitbit fans. I have no allegiance to either. But I was particularly interested in Fitbit’s sleep analysis features they were so heavily touting in this latest wearable release.

As a mom of two kids, sleep is uber important to me; as a person with diabetes, sleep is paramount. The right amount of sleep is critical not only to my mom well-being, but also to keeping my blood sugars in-range, and keeping insulin resistance low. 

Read more about the reason for sleep in people with diabetes here

 And yet, I’m never really sure I’m getting the amount I need. Enter Fitbit Versa.

Not only does Versa simply track your sleep (i.e., hours you’re in sleep-mode every night), it also tracks the amount of time you’re in light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. Plus, it gives you further, detailed insight into those different sleep stages, and your night overall. 

Did you know you can link your Fitbit account to your One Drop app?

Had you asked me a month ago (prior to Versa tracking) how many hours of sleep I got on a regular basis, my answer would’ve been an absolutely, positively 8 hours!

But after wearing Fitbit Versa for a month, that answer (and my understanding of my own sleep habits) has totally changed. Here’s what I learned.


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My 1st Fitbit Versa sleep report

 

My Sleep Life According to Fitbit Versa

Prior to wearing my Versa, I told everyone I was big on getting my 8 hours of sleep every night. I love my sleep! And I truly thought I was getting the right amount to fuel myself throughout the day. When I checked my Versa for the first time, though, those stats told a very different story.

I was getting closer to 6.5 hours of sleep!

I had gotten into a habit of staying up until 10:30 p.m. and probably not actually falling asleep until closer to 11:30 p.m.

I also have two little kids who wake up at the crack of dawn. Sometimes, they’re up before the crack of dawn!

So, in actuality, I’m usually up and at ‘em by 6:15am. I was sleeping from 11:30 p.m. to 6:15 a.m.

 

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When you crunch the numbers, that’s only about 6.5 hours of sleep. Not 8!

And there’s usually a 45-minute interval in the middle of the night that involves a diaper change, convincing that child to go back to sleep, and then wishing and waiting for my own body to go back to sleep.

According to my Fitbit Versa, I was getting an average of about 6 hours of sleep a night. This was a wake-up call for me. And some nights even added up to fewer than 6 hours! I know I need more sleep than that.

What about the fact that it's mostly "light sleep"?

I was a little worried when I first saw that the largest majority of my sleep was in the "light" zone. (I'm also wildly impressed by the fact that a watch can determine this!)

Upon further research, I was relieved to learn that the amount of REM vs. Deep vs. Light sleep in my report was actually pretty normal. So I set my focus back to what matters most: the number of hours I snooze each night.

New Sleep Goals

All this data that Versa was giving me was not only informative, it was actionable. I could take my sleep data (the reports, the graphs), see what needed to change, and make those changes.

For example, I made a new goal to be in bed by 9:30 p.m.

I’m also trying to be more aware of when I should probably take a small dose of melatonin or CBD oil on nights I’m still too wired when 9 p.m. hits. I’m a night owl at heart; lying awake at night, I can usually (and easily) find my brain wandering instead of counting sheep.

So being more aware of when I really ought to take a supplement to help my brain chill is essential to my goal of getting more sleep.

 

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Another thing that helps me turn my brain off and fall asleep more quickly is sticking one earbud in my ear, connected to my phone, while playing a familiar movie with the screen facing into the pillow (rather than watching it).

If I pick something I know really well, my brain stops thinking and just enjoys the storyline until I’m suddenly unconscious. During many nights of severe insomnia during pregnancy, The Hunt for Red October became a life-saver for this reason!

The One Con to the Fitbit Versa: Too Bulky 

The FitBit Versa is just too big for my wrist. The last few nights I’ve worn it, I took it off in my sleep because it was, quite simply, in my way. The nights I did keep it on, I woke up feeling very itchy from where it was stuck to my skin all night. I am, however, looking into getting my own Fitbit Charge 3 to continue tracking my sleep habits without the bulk and heft of the Versa.

Fitbit Versa: My Final Thoughts

While there have been a few late nights here and there, more and more of the nights on my Fitbit “sleep report” have been hitting over 7 hours. I even had one night of over 8 hours of sleep! Not an easy feat for my body.

Part of me hesitates to use sleep-aids like melatonin, valerian or CBD oil too often. Is it really healthy to use melatonin regularly? But, perhaps if I relied on it regularly for a little while, my body would get into a better pattern and start craving sleep earlier on its own.

Either way, I’m sending out a big thanks to the Fitbit universe for giving me a serious reality-check regarding my sleep habits! 😴

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Ginger Vieira
Jan 28, 2019

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Meet Matt Tarro! Also known as @the__drop. Matt's a super awesome superhuman. He also has type 1 diabetes and a DAD (Diabetic Alert Dog), Forest,...

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