There are few things more frustrating than getting a bad night’s sleep — especially when your wearable device lets you know about it as soon as you wake up. Many individuals rely on their smart trackers, such as Fitbits, for more than just step counting.
In recent years, Fitbit has introduced new technology that provides wearers with detailed insights into their sleeping patterns, helping pinpoint a deeper issue that needs to be resolved. While wearable technology makes tracking sleep possible, can a Fitbit track sleep apnea?
ApneaMed walks you through how Fitbits track sleep and if they can reliably diagnose an individual with obstructive sleep apnea.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes individuals to experience disruptions in breathing while they sleep. From short cessations in breathing to periods lasting as long as a few minutes, sleep apnea affects everyone differently.
The cause of these disruptions is the collapsing of the individual’s soft palate, which causes a blockage in their airway. As a result, you likely snore or choke throughout the night in an attempt to reopen the airway and make it easier to breathe.
Because sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiovascular disease, it’s essential to diagnose the sleep disorder early on. However, the individual often isn’t aware that they suffer from obstructive sleep apnea until someone tells them that they’re snoring or gasping for air.
This is why wearable technology, such as a Fitbit, has the potential of informing individuals of issues early on so they can get checked out by a sleep physician.
Tracking Sleep Apnea with a Fitbit
Fitbit and other wearable technology are known for their sleep tracking capabilities — but up until now, they mostly tracked light, deep, and REM stages of sleep. Fitbit is one wearable tech company diving into deeper waters to create a Fitbit that would help track more detailed information, such as oxygen levels, which makes it possible to track breathing disruptions.
By tracking an individual’s oxygen levels throughout the night, the Fitbit will help predict possible health conditions such as allergies, asthma, and sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of the breathing disruptions, the Fitbit can provide you with recommendations for seeing a sleep specialist.
By adding a SpO2 sensor to all of Fitbit’s wearable technology, they’re making their way toward gaining FDA approval to be validated as a medical device for conditions such as sleep apnea. While a Fitbit isn’t currently considered an approved sleep apnea test by the FDA yet, it offers individuals a look into their sleep habits — allowing them to determine if they should seek professional help to improve their sleep.
Get Tested for Sleep Apnea with ApneaMed
If your Fitbit indicates that you’re experiencing breathing disruptions throughout the night, it is beneficial to have a sleep study done to rule out conditions such as sleep apnea. Getting treatment, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, makes it possible for you to breathe easier, limiting (or preventing) the breathing disruptions that your Fitbit detected.
ApneaMed makes getting tested for obstructive sleep apnea more accessible than ever by providing individuals with an at-home sleep study that is delivered directly to your front door.
This self-administered sleep study is performed by you, allowing you to do it in the comfort of your own home. During the night, you’ll wear the monitoring device to record your blood oxygen levels, blood oxygen saturation, breathing, and heart rates, which will be analyzed by one of ApneaMed’s board-certified sleep physicians. From there, ApneaMed will create a recommended treatment plan to ensure you’re receiving a good night’s sleep.
ApneaMed offers various home sleep tests and in-home breathing equipment to help treat obstructive sleep apnea. Contact our team to learn more.
Can sleep apnea be detected on Fitbit? ›
By tracking an individual's oxygen levels throughout the night, the Fitbit will help predict possible health conditions such as allergies, asthma, and sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of the breathing disruptions, the Fitbit can provide you with recommendations for seeing a sleep specialist.How accurate is Fitbit sleep monitoring? ›
So, do FitBits, Apple Watches and Oura Rings track sleep with accuracy? The answer is, not really. Particularly when it comes to sleep stages. These wearables measure movement very well and are great when used for tracking steps and exercise.Does Fitbit underestimate deep sleep? ›
“When examining sleep stages, the Fitbit Alta HR overestimates light sleep and underestimates deep sleep,” he said. “It missed 50% of the deep sleep and 35% of the REM sleep. “This is critical for consumers to know, as they're often fascinated by how much deep sleep or REM sleep they get.Is there a device that can detect sleep apnea? ›
ApneaApp is a contactless solution for detecting sleep apnea events by monitoring the minute chest and abdomen movements caused by breathing on smartphones. Our system works with the phone away from the subject and can simultaneously identify and track the fine-grained breathing movements from multiple subjects.Is there an app that can detect sleep apnea? ›
What devices are supported? SleepCheck is available on Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S9, S10 and S20 devices. Notify me when SleepCheck is available for additional Android devices.What is heart rate during sleep apnea? ›
Patients with OSA demonstrated a decrease in heart rate during apnoea (-14.4 +/- 9.0 beats. min-1), and during MM (-11.5 +/- 13.5 in OSA vs 3.1 +/- 7.8 beats.Can my Fitbit detect snoring? ›
Snore & Noise Detect uses the built-in microphone on your Fitbit smartwatch. * During sleep, your Fitbit watch will analyze the noises in your room, which may include snoring from you, snoring from others, or other sounds like a leaky faucet, car alarm, or barking dog.Is Fitbit accurate for oxygen saturation? ›
The data provided by Fitbit SpO2 is intended to be a close estimation of your blood oxygen saturation levels, but may not be precisely accurate. You should not use or rely on Fitbit SpO2 for any medical purposes.Can you get a perfect sleep score on Fitbit? ›
How is my sleep score calculated in the Fitbit app? Your overall sleep score is a sum of your individual scores in sleep duration, sleep quality, and restoration, for a total score of up to 100. Most people get a score between 72 and 83.Which Fitbit is best for sleep tracking? ›
Fitbit's Sense 2 boasts one of the best overall sleep tracking applications. Its detailed readings offer insight into ten key sleep metrics and how you can improve in those areas based on recorded data for each month.
Which sleep tracker is most accurate? ›
- Withings Sleep.
- Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen)
- Oura Ring 3.
- Fitbit Charge 5.
- Whoop Strap 4.0.
- Apple Watch Series 8.
- Withings ScanWatch.
- Polar Pacer Pro.
While you're sleeping, your device tracks the beat-to-beat changes in your heart rate, known as heart rate variability (HRV), which fluctuate as you transition between light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep stages.How does my Fitbit know when I'm in deep sleep? ›
Basically, Fitbit looks at how much you're moving and how often your heart is beating to infer whether you're awake, in a deep sleep, a light slumber, or dreaming.Why does my Fitbit think I'm sleeping when I take it off? ›
Autodetection is based on your movement. When you haven't moved for about an hour, your device assumes that you're asleep. You can prevent this by turning off heart rate tracking when the tracker is not in use, log into your dashboard and go to Settings > Devices to turn your Heart Rate Tracking to "Off."What is the best way to monitor sleep apnea? ›
Tests to detect sleep apnea include: Nocturnal polysomnography. During this test, you're hooked up to equipment that monitors your heart, lung and brain activity, breathing patterns, arm and leg movements, and blood oxygen levels while you sleep.What helps sleep apnea without a machine? ›
- Maintain a healthy weight. Doctors commonly recommend people with sleep apnea to lose weight. ...
- Try yoga. ...
- Alter your sleep position. ...
- Use a humidifier. ...
- Avoid alcohol and smoking. ...
- Use oral appliances.
A home sleep apnea test is a portable breathing monitor you wear overnight. It is designed to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea at home. As you sleep, the device monitors your breathing and oxygen levels to detect and measure pauses in breathing, which are known as apneas.What is the best free app to track sleep apnea? ›
SleepScore is our top pick because it uses advanced features like sonar technology to measure your sleep habits. Available for both iOS and Android, this app has a huge range of capabilities, even with the free version.Can a smart watch check for sleep apnea? ›
Currently, even the most advanced smartwatches and fitness trackers can only detect the possibility of sleep apnea, and recommend that you seek further diagnosis. Only a sleep study analyzed by a board-certified clinician can diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.Can Smartwatches detect apnea? ›
A study has found that a smart watch (Galaxy Watch 4), which is a wearable device, can help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.
What is your oxygen level if you have sleep apnea? ›
During apnea events the body is denied oxygen. Normal blood oxygenation is at 90%- 95%. An apnea event can drive that level into the 80's% or even 70's%. These levels of oxygenation are damaging and dangerous!Does heart stop beating with sleep apnea? ›
Researchers suspect sleep apnea causes abnormal heart rhythms, which lead to sudden cardiac death, for a number of reasons. “Sleep apnea may lower oxygen levels, activate the fight-or-flight response and change pressure in the chest when the upper airway closes, stressing the heart mechanically,” he explains.Can a heart monitor tell if you have sleep apnea? ›
Conclusion: HR tachogram patterns derived from ambulatory ECGs provide a simple method for identifying sleep apnea syndrome and other sleep disturbances in patients without major autonomic dysfunction.What is normal oxygen level on Fitbit? ›
Typically, your blood oxygen saturation level is between 95–100%, which means your blood is carrying as much oxygen as it can. The oxygen levels in your blood tend to remain relatively constant, even during exercise and sleep.Can Fitbit detect low oxygen levels? ›
Fitbit SpO2 estimates your average blood oxygen saturation levels and range while you sleep. It's designed to see potential changes to your fitness and wellness.Does Fitbit only track oxygen levels while sleeping? ›
The Fitbit Sense can record your blood oxygen levels, but only while you're sleeping. You can't manually take an Sp02 reading at any point — it's all automatically done on your behalf each night after it detects you've fallen asleep.How do I increase deep sleep on Fitbit? ›
Keep a consistent sleep schedule—ideally one that lets you get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep a night. That tends to produce the optimal combined percentage of deep and REM sleep. Consider moving your bedtime up.How much deep sleep do you need by age? ›
If you're under age 30, you may get two hours of deep sleep each night. If you're over age 65, on the other hand, you may only get a half hour of deep sleep each night, or none at all. There's no specific requirement for deep sleep, but younger people may need more because it promotes growth and development.What's a normal sleep pattern on Fitbit? ›
When you click on the sleep tile from your Fitbit dashboard and then choose Today, you'll be able to see how much time you spent in each sleep stage and what percent of your total night's sleep that stage constituted. On average, light sleep will take up about 50 to 60 percent or more of your night.Is Fitbit or Apple Watch better for sleep? ›
1. The Apple Watch shows more light or core sleep and less deep sleep than the Fitbit. Tracking your sleep stages and cycles is most accurately done by polysomnography; it's not as simple as monitoring your heart rate all night.
Are sleep trackers worth it? ›
Using a sleep tracker to monitor nightly rest and make connections between sleep patterns and overall health is a great start—but it's not the be-all and end-all solution for ensuring better sleep. Any sleep gadgets should augment other healthy sleep habits, rather than replace them.What sleep tracker does Kim Kardashian use? ›
Kim Kardashian has shared her results from a sleep app described as “the most accurate sleep and activity tracker”. Posting to her Instagram Stories over the weekend, the reality TV star revealed the high scores provided by her Oura Ring.Do watches accurately track deep sleep? ›
A sleep tracker can make an educated guess about your sleep stages. But the only way to accurately identify what stage of sleep you are in is to measure brain activity during a clinical sleep study (polysomnography). None of the consumer devices on the market capture this kind of data.Why did I not get much deep sleep? ›
Taking naps or spending too much time in bed can weaken your sleep drive. You may lose some of your ability to sleep normally, and as a result, you may get less deep sleep. Substance use and medications. Caffeine, benzodiazepines , and opioid pain medications can all affect deep sleep.What is the average deep sleep on a Fitbit? ›
The average Fitbit user is in bed by 11:36 p.m. and sleeps for 6 hours and 38 minutes. That includes 1 hour, 37 minutes of REM sleep; 3 hours, 55 minutes of light sleep; and 1 hour, 7 minutes of deep sleep.Is REM or deep sleep better? ›
This is also the stage of sleep where it is most difficult to wake you up. Deep sleep is as important, if not more important, than REM sleep when it comes to physical rest, so keep an eye on this stage if you're tracking your sleep patterns.What is the difference between REM and deep sleep? ›
Deep sleep is often confused with REM sleep but there are differences between the two. This third stage of sleep is non-rapid eye movement sleep. Your body can enter this stage about half an hour or 45 minutes after falling asleep. Unlike REM, deep sleep is associated with changes in the body rather than the brain.What happens if you don't get enough REM sleep? ›
What Happens if You Don't Get Enough REM Sleep? Multiple studies of both humans and animals suggest that being deprived of REM sleep interferes with memory formation. However, memory problems associated with a loss of REM sleep could be due to overall sleep disruption, since those often occur together.Is REM sleep accurate on Fitbit? ›
The trackers tested also weren't accurate in quantifying sleep stages (REM, non-REM). However, Fitbit and Oura were deemed the most accurate out of eight commercial brands that were tested.How many hours of REM sleep do you need? ›
For healthy adults, spending 20-25% of your time asleep in the REM stage is a good goal. If you get 7-8 hours of sleep, around 90 minutes of that should be REM.
Should you sleep with Fitbit on all the time? ›
They're often worn clipped at the hip or waist (near internal organs), or around the wrist. Since people often sleep with their hands near their heads, says Davis, this can cause significant nighttime exposure near the brain. For this reason, she suggests avoiding wearing the device on your wrist while you sleep.How much deep sleep do you need? ›
These stages typically happen during the first half of the night and become more infrequent as you continue to snooze. You should aim for about 13 to 23 percent of your sleep to be in these stages. So, if you get 8 hours of sleep, you should be getting anywhere between an hour and just under two hours of deep sleep.Can Fitness Watch detect sleep apnea? ›
Currently, even the most advanced smartwatches and fitness trackers can only detect the possibility of sleep apnea, and recommend that you seek further diagnosis. Only a sleep study analyzed by a board-certified clinician can diagnose obstructive sleep apnea.How can I test myself for sleep apnea? ›
A home sleep apnea test is a portable breathing monitor you wear overnight. It is designed to help diagnose obstructive sleep apnea at home. As you sleep, the device monitors your breathing and oxygen levels to detect and measure pauses in breathing, which are known as apneas.Can my Fitbit tell me if I snore? ›
Snore & Noise Detect uses the built-in microphone on your Fitbit smartwatch. * During sleep, your Fitbit watch will analyze the noises in your room, which may include snoring from you, snoring from others, or other sounds like a leaky faucet, car alarm, or barking dog.How accurate is Fitbit sleep oxygen? ›
The data provided by Fitbit SpO2 is intended to be a close estimation of your blood oxygen saturation levels, but may not be precisely accurate. You should not use or rely on Fitbit SpO2 for any medical purposes.Can we record sleep apnea with smart watch? ›
French digital health company Withings has unveiled a new hybrid smartwatch with hardware designed to detect both atrial fibrillation and sleep apnea.How do you treat mild sleep apnea without CPAP? ›
- Oral Appliances. Just as there are dental professionals who specialize in orthodontics or dental implants, there are also those who can help with sleep apnea. ...
- Oral Surgery. In some cases, genetics can be the cause of sleep apnea. ...
- Weight Loss. ...
- Positional Therapy. ...
- Inspire Therapy.
For years, the most common treatment for millions of people with sleep apnea involved wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. That is, until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new, maskless treatment option -- the Inspire upper airway stimulation device.Can Fitbit tell if you're standing or sitting? ›
Your fitbit can't tell whether you are sitting or standing -- only that you are not moving. If you do spend a lot of time standing, there are many options in the Log Activities list where you can log standing and it will modify the calories burned.
What does it mean when your Fitbit tells you to breathe? ›
The phrase “sensing your breathing” will appear on your tracker's screen. When prompted, follow the guide (the circle on your screen) and breathe deeply. You can close your eyes because your tracker will vibrate when it's time to inhale and exhale.Which Fitbit has Snore detect? ›
Which Fitbit devices can access it? Only Fitbit's flagship smartwatches currently feature the Snore & Noise Detect functionality. This includes the Fitbit Sense and Fitbit Versa 3. Notably, there is an official app for the Versa 2, but it remains in beta and isn't available for all to download.What is a good oxygen level on Fitbit? ›
Typically, your blood oxygen saturation level is between 95–100%, which means your blood is carrying as much oxygen as it can. The oxygen levels in your blood tend to remain relatively constant, even during exercise and sleep.What SpO2 indicates sleep apnea? ›
Medicare requires a 4% drop in blood oxygen saturation in order for a patient to qualify as having sleep apnea, but Johns said clinicians know that a 2% to 3% drop can be “very clinically significant, especially if it occurs in a cyclical fashion.