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Why Does My Fitbit Think I Awake So Much (How Accurate Is Sleep)

Fitbit watches are not only used to log steps, cardio, and calories but are also helpful in tracking your sleep. Getting enough sleep helps the brain eliminate toxins that can lead to Alzheimer’s disease while boosting brain health. If your Fitbit thinks you awake so much, I will show you the possible reasons and how to check if it gives accurate results.

Your Fitbit watch may tell you wake up so much while asleep due to the current setting enabled. When the device is on sensitive mode, it counts almost all movements as being awake even if you’re actually asleep. This is a common issue that many users are experiencing with their Fitbits.

Keep reading to understand why your fitness tracker thinks you awake so much at night. I have also included other important questions such as how Fitbit know you are awake, how accurate is sleeping on Fitbit, and how much awake time is normal on Fitbit?

How Does Your Fitbit Know You Are Awake?

Fitbit says that their watches and trackers are fine-tuned to monitor sleep and estimate the sleep stages by considering your heart rate, pulse, and other data. Your log includes the minutes spent asleep, restless, and awake, while awake minutes are calculated by adding your restless and awake time.

The sleep stages are not affected by your Fitbit’s sleep sensitivity setting. However, you may see more awake times during the sleep stages compared to your sleep data in the previous night. This is because of your varied sleep cycles and in scenarios where the device tracks your sleep patterns rather than sleep stages.

The following are some of the most common scenarios where you’ll see your time spent awake, restless, and asleep rather than your sleep stages:

  • When the battery of the Fitbit tracker is critically low.
  • When you’ve only slept for 3 hours or less.
  • When you’ve enabled the Begin Sleep Now in your Fitbit app.
  • When you’ve slept in a certain position where your Fitbit watch can’t read your heart rate consistently or when you wore the watch too loosely.

The Fitbit device basically knows you’re awake, dreaming, in a light slumber, or in deep sleep by looking at how often your heart is beating and how much you’re moving. In addition, PPG (optical photoplethysmography) measures your blood flow according to how the green light from your Fitbit’s LED is reflected by your body. It also considers the changes in your heart rate during sleep to determine how much time is spent per sleep cycle.

For Fitbit Versa, it uses an accelerometer to measure bodily accelerations of your wrist and know what sleep stage you’re in. This tracker is also designed with a SpO2 sensor to measure blood oxygenation. The sensor basically classify the different sleep stages in the most accurate way possible.

If you’ve purchased a Fitbit and it won’t set up, read my article on why will your Fitbit not setup to get some tips.

How Accurate Is Sleep On Fitbit?

In a 2017 report published by Fitbit scientists, they say that the sensors in Fitbits can determine sleep stages with 69% accuracy in a given 30-second time frame. The tracker’s “sleep staging is only accurate within these 30-second blocks slightly more than two thirds of the time”.

There’s no systematic bias, however, in terms of how much restlessness, deep sleep, or light sleep Fitbit trackers estimate. Meaning, these devices don’t under or overestimate the length of these sleep stages. If you’re using the app every night, you will get an accurate data as to how much you get awaken, deeply sleep, or lightly sleep each night.

The accuracy of sleep on Fitbit may not always be on point since there are chances you’ll see much restlessness on the watch when you check it. This may be due to the Sleep Setting set on Sensitive mode. Instead, the device must be on Normal mode to count appropriate movements as being awake.

Let’s talk about how the Sensitive mode settings affect the accuracy of your Fitbit to monitor your sleep. If your Fitbit is on sensitive setting, it tends to record all your movements as being awake. This could be helpful if you have a sleep disorder, or wear your tracker on other parts aside from your wrist during sleep.

When it comes to getting accurate sleep logs, I highly suggest using the Normal mode. Here are the easy steps to change your Fitbit settings from Sensitive to Normal mode:

  1. On the Fitbit app, go to Account, choose Advanced Settings, and tap Sleep Sensitivity.
  2. On the Fitbit website dashboard, go to Settings, tap Devices, and select Sleep Tracking.

Let me share with you my experience using the Charge HR. On normal mode, it overestimates my sleep, while it records my average sleep per night as up to 3 hours in roughly 20 sessions without evidence of my sleep cycles and other information. Based on the results, it convinces me that my memory problems might be due to my sleep issues.

Another important thing to remember is to switch the heart rate setting to On if your Fitbit is in Auto mode. By doing so, your heart rate stays active since this data is important in calculating your sleep stages. If you turn off your heart rate settings, you will get classic style sleep logs on your tracker. Also, make sure to update your app so that you will get accurate data during sleep.

Moreover, all of us are awake for several times throughout the night. You just don’t remember it because the memories of being awake are erased when you go back to sleep. This isn’t an issue for Fitbit trackers, in fact, you would get almost the same results even if you spend huge money on a sleep study.

If you wan to use Strava with your Fitbit, check out my article on how do you connect Strava to Fitbit Versa 2 and learn from this easy guide.

How Much Awake Time Is Normal On Fitbit?

According to studies, an adult wakes up shortly between 10 to 30 times each night. It’s normal to get more awake minutes during the sleep stages, and not remember it when you wake up in the morning. For every 8 hours, adults normally get 1 to 2 hours of deep sleep per night.

If you wake up so much every night, don’t fret because it’s normally a part of the sleep stages. However, it could lead to some issues if you wake up and not be able to go back to sleep. To avoid difficulty returning to sleep, be less annoyed or frustrated each time you awake at night.

From my experience with Versa, it was an eye-opening during the first week. I was only getting a few hours of sleep, and the reading stayed consistent for 8 weeks while using the Fitbit Versa tracker. It convinced me that it holds true to the actual amount of time I sleep each night. In a span of 30 days, my average awake time was 13% of the time I lay in bed.

The normal range of restlessness, according to Fitbit, is 5 to 20% so it’s pretty much not unusual. However, I’m still concerned that much of my time in bed is spent being awake rather than sleep. Fitbit also doesn’t show typical ranges for total time slept, which I think is the most important thing in a fitness tracker.

If your Fitbit watch is stuck on water lock mode, read my article on how do you get your Fitbit off swim mode to get the best tips from the swimming guide.