The Only Thing Your Wearable Sleep Tracker Is Good For With Dr. Michael Chee

Fitbit sleep trackers made the cash register ring 16 million times in 2019, according to one report. But how much of the sleep data is actually usable?

Fitbits seem to have risen as the cream of the sleep tracker crop, especially considering that the crowded field includes ridiculous items like phone-based apps that claim to be able to track your sleep while they're sitting on your night stand.

It's a subject we've spent time looking at before on The Snooze Button podcast, but this week's guest has based a ton of research on real-world sleep tracker data from Fitbits in particular. We've even featured an interview with the lead sleep scientist at Fitbit, Dr. Conor Heneghan, about Fitbit's "sleep score", with details about how it's calculated and what it means.

Among the most troubling things about sleep trackers, though, is that people can get so obsessed with the numbers their devices are spitting out that the stress associated with small changes can create their own brand of sleep issues, branded as orthosomnia. That's a legit sleep disorder that's causing real-world issues for people who haven't considered whether their tracker is even generating accurate data to begin with.

The bottom line?

Dr. Michael Chee - the award-winning researcher who basically put Singapore on the world sleep map - says there is one nugget of data from a wearable sleep tracker that you can depend on, and that deals with whether there's an overall trend. Sleep staging? Nope. Sleep quality? Nope. Sleep duration? Yeah, kinda.

Michael fills us in on the details. Additionally, you can grab some of Michael's research on wearable sleep trackers here.

Additionally, Dr. Michael Grandner from the University of Arizona returns with a look at the latest sleep science developments to capture his attention - especially as the sleep community gets ready for a virtual version of their annual conference. For example - there appears to be a correlation between checking your phone when you wake up, and depression.

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Neil Hedley

Neil Hedley spent three decades helping people wake up as a morning radio host. Now, he's trying to help them sleep, after battling insomnia since the age of six. Neil is also a bestselling author, television personality, and runs a podcast production facility and advertising & content creation company on Vancouver Island.