Tell me about your exercise/sleep-tracking gadget

I’m considering acquisition of a Fitbit or similar gadget, mostly to discover just how much I don’t sleep. (I’ve been an insomniac for years and would like to see the patterns or lack thereof, and hey, it’s cheaper than a sleep study!)

Any recs or things to avoid? Particular models? Tips/hints? Are there any that suck less at tracking exercise that doesn’t involve steps, like biking/swimming/weights? I can’t really do high-impact exercise due to gimpy ankle.

I got a FitBit Charge HR a week ago. So far I love it. The sleep tracking is interesting; it is possible to sit so still while you watch TV that it thinks you’re taking a nap. Or maybe that’s just me.

Other than that, it’s motivating to check your steps, calories, active minutes, and flights of stairs throughout the day. It will estimate your daily calorie-consumption goal, based on your weight loss goals, too. Most days it wants me to eat 2500 calories for moderate weight loss, which explains A LOT about why restricting to 1500 feels unusustainable …

No drawbacks to this one except it’s sort of big and clunky on a woman’s wrist, but oh well. Jawbone makes very pretty ones, but they get bad reviews.

I’ve got a Fitbit Flex. It only counts steps so isn’t any good for cycling, rowing, etc. It’s pretty accurate for measuring distances, only about 5% off what I measure using GPS. It does track sleep but I haven’t paid any attention to that data.

Oh, now that I have some coffee in me: because it does continuous HR monitoring, it can detect “active minutes” that don’t involve steps. Yesterday I was gardening, for example, and it counted that as a workout even without a significant number of steps.

You can’t wear it in the shower/pool, though.

I have a JawboneUP24 that I love. The only issue is that if I’m just lying quietly in bed, playing on my phone, as is usually the case when I can’t sleep, it doesn’t register that as “awake”. Usually it shows it as a period of “light sleep”.

I think that would probably be the same for most of them, though.

I have a Garmin Vivosmart. I love it because it’s small, the battery carries a 7 day charge, and it has a watch and everything else I was looking for…

I’ve worn a Garmin Vivofit for over a year. I haven’t had to replace the battery yet. It’s basically a watch, and displays the time, date, steps, distance and calories (not all at the same time). It syncs with my tablet via an app, which is where I can see the sleep data. It shows how much and when you move during the night. It doesn’t track any daytime movement other than steps. I haven’t tried it in a pool, but I wear it in the shower.

One feature that I like is that it reminds you to get up and walk a bit if you have been sitting for over an hour.

I like mine a lot, but it’s the only fitness wearable I’ve had so I don’t have any basis for comparison.

Thanks, guys. Anyone have and/or know anything about Polar monitors? For some reason my gym seems to be into them, but I hardly hear about them anywhere else.

If you don’t mind a bit of reading, Ray is good

They all have pluses and minuses. I did a bunch of research before I picked the Misfit. It does what I need, tracks sleep, steps as default but can be used with my stationary bike, is waterproof, pairs with My Fitness Pal to count calories and add back exercise, and I’ve lost 25 pounds so far. Plus, it’s pretty. I wear it as a necklace, watch, clip it to my collar, or just put it in my pocket. Whatever activity algorithm it uses, it’s not fooled by arm movements for steps, nor by watching TV for sleep.

I have a Garmin Vivoactive. I love it, and as an insomniac I was interested in the sleep stuff, but I wouldn’t get your hopes up on that. The sleep tracking is not particularly sophisticated and as Sattua says, it can easily mistake stillness for sleep. I don’t think it can identify REM sleep, either. Having said that, it might not be a bad prelude to convincing a doctor you had issues. My husband and I both have one, and although he logs fewer sleep hours total than I do, he gets about twice the “deep sleep” hours. But that’s not telling me anything I didn’t already know, so other than confirming my beliefs I’m not sure it’s all that helpful.

What I really like is the GPS for running and hiking. It gives a much greater degree of accuracy on distance (and therefore pace) than something like the Nike sensor I used to use. Plus it is cool to be able to see your route!

Last week I did a hike I was unfamiliar with - it was my understanding that I’d eventually come to a waterfall, but I hiked and hiked and never did. I wanted to be a bit conservative since I was by myself, so I said “okay, I’ll hike for 3 miles, then turn around.” Thanks to the Vivoactive, at all times I knew how far I had already hiked.

When I got home, I was able to see where I’d gone and then look at Google Earth to figure out why I never made it to the waterfall. (You have to veer left at one point where I kept going straight.) I loved being able to do that.

I bought a Basis band. Don’t do that - it’s a piece of crap.
Their sleep tracking is kind of ok, nothing special compared to what most of the other trackers do. The movement tracking is sub-par. While it’s supposed to track pulse, perspiration, and something else as well as steps, all of those things tend to shut down as soon as you’re doing anything more strenuous than walking. It also has no good way of exporting your data, and it doesn’t have a useful UI itself, so you end up with bad visualization of incomplete data.
Also, it’s more expensive than many of the rest of the trackers. It’s bulky and unattractive. And their customer service isn’t responsive when you will inevitably have issues.

On the other hand, their marketing is amazing. I got it in the first place based on several excellent reviews that didn’t end up matching my experience at all.

I’ve got a Fitbit Charge HR. I discovered that it misinterprets playing bass as walking.

Groove yourself slim! :cool:

Yeah, my Vivoactive thinks my drum playing is taking steps. I am not interested in the “total steps” feature so I just let it think I’m getting amazing exercise (on days when I both run and practice a lot, it tells me I achieve double or more of my daily goal.)

If I needed a more accurate reading of the steps I take, I would just remove the Vivoactive during drum practice.

I have a Misfit. My insurance company gave it to me and they give me a dollar a day ( in Amazon gift card currency ) for every day I hit 10,000 steps.

I tried using the Misfit app early on for sleep tracking but the Misfit doesn’t think I sleep, or I didn’t set it up correctly. I just use the insurance company app to track steps.

I have found that it’s pretty accurate as a step tracker. It frustrates me that it barely registers when I do yoga - sometimes I’ll take a fairly active class and it only gives me a couple of hundred steps. However, mine DOES register arm movements if you do them in a certain way…gotta get those gift cards!

If your triple-tap (activity tagging) is set up for sleep, then it won’t do it automatically. Of course yoga isn’t an activity it’s set up to tag, but I bet if you did it for basketball or swimming it might register the activity better - it gives more weight to tagged activities, so it’s worth setting up! I get my goal faster when I tag stationary biking.

Yeah, there’s a tie-up between Fitbit and my provider of life insurance, and I can earn “points” to spend in the insurer’s online “lifestyle-stuff” store if I hit daily goals. I haven’t set this up yet, because i haven’t read the small print and I don’t want my premiums going UP if I don’t hit the goals (which at the moment is the case :()

I’ve got a Fitbit Zip that doesn’t measure sleep at all. I thought about getting a device that would (my husband has a jawbone) but then I thought to myself, ‘what would I actually do with that information?’ And I didn’t have a good answer.

It’s motivated me to do my bedtime routine a little earlier. That way I’m ready to go to bed when I’m tired. I relax a little better, rather than putting things off - therefore putting bedtime off - and go to sleep at more reasonable times. Yes, just the stupid little app showing a sleep log has gotten me to sleep better. It took several months, but I get satisfaction from seeing my sleep log with consistent 7 to 9 hours rather than 3 here and 5 there and over sleeping on days off.

I have a Jawbone Up3.

I like it. Unlike previous versions of the Jawbone, you don’t have to put it into sleep mode manually - it supposedly recognizes that you’re asleep when movements and heart rate slow down. I found, though, that that didn’t seem to be accurate. There’d be nights it didn’t recognize that I fell asleep at all, when I knew I had. There is a way, from within the app, to put it in to sleep mode, and I do that now. That lets me know how long it took me to fall asleep after that point as well as tracking my sleep.

I feel like, once it’s in sleep mode, it tracks well. I like the heart rate monitor part of it too - that’s let me recognize that being overheated at night isn’t just about sleeping less well, but I also tend to have a higher heart rate when I’m too warm - whether caused by not sleeping as deeply, by the odd dreams that overheated sleeping tends to bring on or something else, I don’t know.