Fitbit sleep data: Sleeping more than 7 hours is good for you

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Your mom was right. Sleep early, sleep longer. Sleeping longer leads to more deep and REM sleep, which is vital for general well-being. Fitbit recently conducted a sleep study using its trackers like Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Blaze and Fitbit Charge 2. Results were scored independently by polysomnography technicians, a testament of the accuracy of these wrist-worn devices for gathering reliable sleep data.

Fitbit believes having the ability to gather reliable sleep data can simplify sleep research, and increase public knowledge about sleep.

Dr. Conor Heneghan, lead sleep research scientist at Fitbit is set to present the findings of the study “Estimation of Sleep Stage Using Cardiac and Accelerometer Data from a Wrist-Worn Device,” at SLEEP 2017, the joint conference of the American Acadeny of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society, in Boston from 3-6 June 2017.

In April 2017, Fitbit introduced new sleep features to a few of its flagship products. Called Sleep Stages, it uses heart rate variability to estimate the time you spend in light, deep and REM sleep. It also tracks the time you’re awake at night to better gauge your sleep quality.

Since 2010, Fitbit has tracked four billion nights of sleep, making it the most extensive, longitudinal database on sleep in the world.

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So, what’s good quality sleep?

Fitbit’s analysis of millions of nights of anonymised and aggregated Fitbit sleep stages data reveals that sleeping more than seven hours a night is best for your health. Scientists have long theorised that longer sleep leads to more deep and REM sleep, which helps in short-term memory, cell regeneration, human growth hormone secretion and mood regulation.

Feel like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed? Chances are you’re not getting enough shut-eye.

Sleeping 7-8 hours gives you the best highest combined percentage of time in sleep stages. Waking up earlier than usual can impact the percentage of REM sleep you get. This usually occurs more at the end of the night.

Unconsciously, you’ll have short periods of awake time, which is a normal component of a healthy sleep cycle. Awake time represents 10-15% of your sleep cycle, or adds up to around 55 minutes.

Drilling down to gender and generation, Fitbit found some key findings.

Sample Fitbit Sleep Stages data
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Sample Fitbit Sleep Stages data

Gen Z (age 13-22) sleeps the most, averaging 6 hours and 57 minutes a night, with 17% of the time in deep sleep. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers (age 52-71) sleep the least at 6 hours and 33 minutes per night, with 13% of the time in deep sleep.

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As people age, they get less deep sleep. From an average of 17% at age 20, it dips to 12% at age 70.

Gender-wise, women sleep an average of 25 more minutes a night compared to men. The fairer sex also gets more REM sleep, and this difference increases further at age 50 and above.

Check out some key data from the sleep research below.

In summary, more sleep is good for you. Learn more about your sleeping habits and how to get better sleep with Fitbit.

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