A Bit Fitter


A Bit Fitter

I’d speculatively asked for a Fitbit for xmas, knowing that it was both a pricey gift and a bit of an unnecessary luxury. It turned out that it wasn’t due out in this country until early January anyway, but I was lucky enough to get one all the same.

Given my preoccupation with recording statistics from my life, the Fitbit is like catnip for me. Having every step, every flight of stairs, and every calorie burned, tracked and graphed on my Fitbit profile page is compulsive stuff. Just turning a mundane lunch time walk into a chance to improve my daily score makes it enough like a game to motivate me to get out there.

Aside from all the activity it records, it’s the sleep tracking that’s most compelling for me. I know I’m not a good sleeper – I can go to bed early with more than eight ours stretching out before me until my alarm goes off, then lie there with my mind racing for an hour, followed by a patchy night of sleep even when I do drift off.

Sometimes I’ll successfully complete a full sleep cycle of around three to four hours and then wake up, for some reason, such as a drop in the temperature, for example. Then I’ll have a rubbish final phase of sleep that leaves me feeling jaded for most of the day. I’ve been like this for such a long time that, as much as it sucks, I’ve just learned to live with it.

However, I’ll occasionally sleep soundly for a whole night and wake up bursting with energy. I’ll be more productive at work, I’ll have a spring in my step the whole day, and I’ll not suffer the afternoon concentration fade. Those days are golden, but they’re few and far between and, unfortunately, I’m never quite sure what makes the stars align so that I can try to replicate the conditions and make a good night’s sleep happen more often.

This is where the sleep tracking with my Fitbit comes in, and I’m looking forward to seeing how my daily activity and diet correlate with a successful sleep. Last night I scraped in at 55% efficiency – clearly not ideal, and I’ve already noticed that I have more energy when my Fitbit has recorded a sleep that was more than 75% efficient.

It’s not an exact science, I know – all it’s doing is sensing sudden and prolonged movement during the time I’m asleep. It’s not measuring my breathing or temperature or heart rate – the things that would be examined in detail if I was to have it done in a proper, medical way.

It is a start, though, and with all the other daily activity my Fitbit tracks, it complements the exercise activity that I log with the Endomondo application on my phone. I’m quite looking forward to seeing my year of physical fitness challenges tracked on both services, too, and it’ll be a good measure of whether my Buff by my Birthday challenge is on track or not.