Yesterday, Monday, June 20th, Fitbit released a new sleep feature, “Sleep Schedule,” that will help users establish a more consistent sleep routine by sending reminders when it’s time to go to bed or wake-up. Several of Fitbit’s brands already enable sleep tracking (Fitbit One, Fitbit Flex, Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit Surge); this new setting, though, is focused on helping users meet their own, personalized sleep goals.
The update comes at a time when the fitness trackers’s market is uber competitive. On the less expensive end of the market, Xiaomi’s Mi Band 2 (less than $45) competes with Fitbit, and on the more expensive end of the market, Apple Watch competes.
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2014 Sleep Index, 35 percent of adults reported that their sleep quality was “fair” or “poor.” In a more recent poll conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, one-third of adults said they do not get enough sleep. “Not enough sleep” for adults is considered less than 7 hours per night; such lack of sleep has been linked to chronic health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, depression, and anxiety.
Michael Grandner, a Fitbit sleep advisor and director the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, helped develop the “Sleep Schedule” option. According to Grandner, “when we have a regular bedtime, our sleep biology can rally around that time…If you keep it regular enough, your body knows when it is coming, so it can optimally prepare.”
Moreover, Fitbit cited research that argues getting enough sleep can positively impact how much you exercise the following day. Also, based on Fitbit data, a correlation exists between those who sleep enough–between 7 and 9 hours–and with a lower BMI.
With the new option, users can establish sleep goals (set a bedtime and wake-up time). The app will recommend these times yet the user will ultimately set them. The user will receive push notifications on a smartphone to send reminders about when to retire to bed. A sleep history schedule is also included.
“Sleep Schedule” is available now in an update on iOS, Android, and Windows. It works with: Fitbit Surge, Fitbit Blaze, Fitbit Charge HR, Fitbit Alta, Fitbit Charge, Fitbit Flex, and Fitbit One (via manual sleep tracking).