Fitbit Charge : In The Landscape Of Wearables And The Future
The Charge 3 was originally reviewed in October 2018 so does it make sense to buy it in 2020?
It’s still one of the best fitness trackers on the market, thanks to a wealth of sensors, great features and the newly-activated SpO2 sensor.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably decided against buying a smartwatch. So if you’ve made that call, but want top notch fitness and wellness features, this is still probably your best bet.
We’d recommend an Apple Watch 3 or Versa 2 to most people, but in this form factor, the Charge 3 is still a market leader.
Which Device Do I Need
To take advantage of the Fitbit Sleep Stages technology, you need to use a device that supports it and can monitor your heart rate. Most newer Fitbits, such as the Fitbit Charge 5, Fitbit Luxe, and Inspire 2, can track sleep, and some of the older ones can as well, such as the Fitbit Alta HR, Fitbit Blaze, and Fitbit Charge HR.
These are all wrist-worn trackers, and you need to keep them on for the entire night for the feature to work.
How Exactly Does Fitbit Track My Sleep
Fitbit is one of the most highly regarded wearable brands in the world, and its trackers do a truly useful service. You can draw upon data gathered by a Fitbit device to gauge your health and well-being, as well as monitor your sleep.
On the latter topic, people usually wonder how exactly does a gadget on my wrist track sleep? How accurate is this information?
The San Francisco wearables manufacturer now offers quite a few different devices. But when it comes to sleep tracking, some are better than others. Depending on your model, sleep tracking will differ some models keep tabs on sleep cycles automatically while others require additional user input.
Also Check: Moderate Sleep Apnea Va Rating
Additional Features: A Comprehensive App
The Fitbit Charge 3 is more than just calories burned and steps walked. It also has a breadth of other features that give you a deeper look into your overall health. Sleep tracking is one of the most useful offerings. Designed to help you sleep better, the sleep-tracking feature tells you exactly how long youve slept and how long you spent in each sleep stage.
Additionally, the Fitbit Charge 3 has a built-in Relative SpO2 sensor, which measures oxygen concentration in the blood. Traditionally, this is used to diagnose conditions like sleep apnea or other breathing issues during sleep. Unfortunately, this feature has yet to translate to anything in the app, though Fitbit says it could eventually be used to give users a sleep score. The Fitbit is also outfitted with a silent alarm that wakes users up by vibrating.
The Charge 3 has a breadth of other features that give you a deeper look into your overall health.
Female health tracking allows women to track their periods, symptoms, and menstrual cycle trends. Guided breathing sessions give you a few minutes of relaxation. You can get calendar updates and notifications from your phone and check the weather, and there is even a timer feature that I found super helpful, whether I used it for fitness or as a reminder to remove dinner from the oven.
What Should I Know About Fitbit Sleep Stages
If you use a Fitbit device with heart-rate tracking to track your sleep, you can see a record of the sleep stages you cycle through at night. This article answers frequently asked questions about sleep stages.
While youre asleep each night, your body typically goes through several sleep cycles that last on average 90 minutes. In each cycle you alternate between two types of sleep:
Light Sleep and Deep SleepWith less brain activity than REM sleep, non-rapid eye movement includes the stages of light sleep and deep sleep. Periods of deep sleep are typically longer early in the night.
Rapid Eye Movement SleepThe stage associated with vivid dreams, REM sleep periods are typically longer as the night goes on .
During a sleep cycle, its most common to go from light sleep to deep sleep, back to light sleep, and then into REM sleep. Then the cycle generally repeats, but sleep patterns vary naturally.
Sleep stages are traditionally measured in a lab using an electroencephalogram to detect brain activity along with other systems to monitor eye and muscle activity. While this method is the gold standard for measuring sleep stages , your device can estimate your sleep stages in a more comfortable, convenient way.
Fitbits sleep researchers and the National Sleep Foundation describe the following sleep stages. The names of the stages are what weve chosen to use in your Fitbit sleep log.
Recommended Reading: High Variations In Blood Oxygen While Sleeping
Fitbit Charge : Health And Fitness Features
The last two devices launched by Fitbit have been smartwatches the Ionic and Versa so youd be forgiven for wondering why its doing a fitness tracker at all. And truth be told, the Charge 3 does a lot of the things youll get on those watches.
But Fitbit still sees a market for people who dont wear watches. Or people who wear watches and dont want to replace them, or wear two. But they will wear a fitness tracker on the other wrist.
Because at its heart, the Charge 3 is still fitness, fitness, fitness. Fitbit promises well see the app ecosystem expand in the future, but its Charge devices have always had a laser focus on activity.
The Charge 3 stays on target, supporting a range of fitness modes including running, swimming, cycling, treadmill and strength training. Sure, you cant play tic-tac-toe on it, but honestly, theres not a lot that you can do on the Versa that you cant do here.
One thing that is missing is GPS and this surprised us. The Charge 3 once again foregoes this feature, but can use your phone connection to get that movement data.
This isnt a deal breaker when you consider the Charge 3s other limitations compared to a smartwatch it doesnt support offline music or LTE. Chances are, youre not going to take the Charge 3 out for a run without your smartphone, so the lack of GPS while, again, a tad surprising isnt world-ending, even for the serious athletes amongst you.
How To Check Your Fitbit Sleep Statistics
After you wake in the morning, you can review the information Fitbit has recorded about your sleep.
Start the Fitbit app on your phone and wait for it to sync. You can see your overall sleep time on the Today page. This is the time Fitbit believes you were asleep the previous evening, not including any time you were restless or woke up during the night.
Tap the sleep entry to go to the detailed Sleep page. At the top of the page, you’ll see a graph that shows how you slept for the last week.
Swipe the graph to see three tabs: how long you slept each night, your sleep schedule , and a summary of your sleep stages.
Below the graph is a list of your individual daily sleep cycles. It displays much more detail about your sleep stages throughout the night.
To see this in more detail, tap the day you want to view. On the detailed page, you can also compare your actual sleep to a “benchmark” of how the average person of your age and sex sleeps.
Read Also: Can Nac Cause Insomnia
Fitbit Charge 3 Fitness Tracker Vs Garmin Forerunner 235
I also tested out the Garmin Forerunner 235, a fitness watch specifically designed for runners. While I enjoyed using both the Fitbit and Garmin, it was for very different reasons. Ultimately, it comes down to the type of fitness you enjoy. While they both give you data on your heart rate and track steps and sleep, theres no doubt that runners will love the Garmin Forerunner for its detailed insights into runs. The Garmin also has the edge for its lightweight watch face design. But even as a runner, I found that the Fitbit gave me a more comprehensive view into my fitness. The Fitbit also comes in around $100 cheaper than the Garmin.
Yes, buy it!
The Fitbit Charge 3 is one of the most reliable, comprehensive fitness trackers on the market and is absolutely worth its pricewhich is still lower than some competitors. Fitness newbies and gym rats alike will appreciate the insight it gives into their exercise, along with its special features like sleep tracking and notifications.
How To Improve Your Readings
Unlike taking more steps to help you get fit, there’s no apparent way to improve your sleep readings. During the week, Fitbit offers some suggestions on ways you can potentially improve those numbers.
- Limit alcohol consumption: While consuming alcohol before bed may help you fall asleep, it can also contribute to you waking up during the night.
- Create a regular bedtime and wake-up time: If having a regular bedtime and wake-up time is a challenge for you, set your Fitbit so that it reminds you to head to bed at the same time each night and then gently wakes you in the morning with a light vibration.
If you’re routinely having trouble getting enough sleep, it’s probably time to see a medical professional. The readings from your Fitbit may be useful to give your doctor a baseline idea of your problems before appropriate studies or treatments for you are recommended.
Sleep Tracking Has Some Serious Benefits
I’ve never gotten much out of tracking my sleep in the past. With a 6-month-old baby and a toddler waking me up at odd hours of the night I was scared to even see my stats the next morning, let alone get graded on my sleep. Each morning, the Fitbit app gives you a Sleep Score based on everything from sleep duration to sleep stages, heart rate and variations in blood oxygen levels and skin temperature.
After a few nights of testing, it’s actually provided some useful data about my sleep habits. For starters, I’ve gotten a passing grade every single night, despite waking up to nurse my little one. The app told me it’s normal to spend up to 45 minutes awake each night, which was comforting. It also gives you advice on how to improve your score, like keeping your bedtime consistent, regardless of how late it is.
Everyone can see basic information in the app, like how much sleep you get and its quality, but Fitbit Premium subscribers get access to heart rate and blood oxygen data. I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary in my chart, but I can see this feature being extremely helpful for people who suspect they might have a more serious sleep-related condition like sleep apnea. In that case it might be worth the extra $9.99 a month for a premium account.
Fitbit Charge 3 Not Tracking Sleep Stages
- Float this Topic for Current User
10-15-201808:48 – last edited on 11-17-202015:03 by MatthewFitbit
10-15-201808:48 – last edited on 11-17-202015:03 by MatthewFitbit
I’ve had the Charge 3 for 4 days, it tracked Sleep for 2 days then stopped. I tried setting it to Sensitive on my computer and I get an error message “Oops something went wrong” but nothing tells me what or why. Additionally, it won’t swipe left for settings on the unit itself like the instructions and video show. Is it defective? I’ve uninstalled, reset, updated the firmware…what else can I do?
So, in the last week and half, my Fitbit does the sleep tracking correctly without any modification and different use by my side. Except for single day, which I had to edit and find the exact moment it switches to the pattern. I did not updated to the new firmware, as I heard many issues about it, and for me, the new firmware, takes away the clock face that I’m using. I do have the latest Android App though.
I think they did something behind the scene, if the calculations does goes to their main sever and back.
I really think Fitbit has hoodooed a lot of us!
Hi I recently bought a charge 3 for my dad and it record sleep currently for the first night then starting the 2nd night it only records for 2 hrs . How can I wipe out all the data and restart it again ?
So far my moms and mine are ok
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Wear Your Fitbit On Your Wrist
Some Fitbit models, like the Inspire 2 and the original Inspire, allow you to wear your Fitbit in a clip.
Unfortunately, when you wear your Fitbit in a clip and set your Inspire to on-clip mode, the heart rate sensors automatically turn off.
That means that your Fitbit in the clip-position can only record sleep in the three general categories of awake, restless, and asleep since it doesnt record any heart rate data.
So for folks who wear their Fitbits in a clip or pendant when sleeping, try wearing it on your wrist and see if that makes a difference.
When you wear your Fitbit on your wrist and set it to wrist mode, it automatically detects when you sleep and records your sleep stages using your heart rate information.
Thats why you must check that your Fitbit is set to on-wrist and not on-clip mode in the Fitbit Settings app.
How Do I Enable Sleep Mode On Charge 3
- Float this Topic for Current User
10-19-202009:36 – last edited on 11-12-202013:30 by MatthewFitbit
10-19-202009:36 – last edited on 11-12-202013:30 by MatthewFitbit
Fitbit Community Moderators Learn more
Hi there , welcome to the Community Forums. Thanks for the details provided in your post, I understand how annoying is to be disturbed during your sleep. I’ll be glad to help you to enable “Sleep Mode” on your Charge 3.
Press and hold the button, and swipe left to access the quick settings screen. Tap a setting to turn it on or off. When you turn off the setting, the icon appears dim with a line through it.
What You Can Do With Fitbit Sleep Information
Sleep monitoring is designed to help you assess if you’re sleeping a healthy amount, and to improve your sleep.
You can use the information to look for trends, like if you consistently don’t get enough sleep, or sleep restlessly and wake up often during a night’s sleep.
It’s also useful for spotting changes in your sleep. If you usually sleep well but have started to see a change in the quality of your sleep cycles, that might be an indication something is wrong, and you can try to change your sleep habits or have a discussion with your doctor.
What To Do If The Fitbit Is Not Tracking Sleep
Time needed: 15 minutes.
These are the troubleshooting steps to utilize if the device on your wrist is not doing its job properly. Sometimes you might wake up in the morning and find that only half of your sleep session was recorded. Or the tracker might say you only had 2 hours of kip time when in reality youve had a good 8 hours. Or perhaps your sleep stages are not showing. Something has gone wrong and the Fitbit has not done what it is supposed to. It makes that nights data pretty useless.Incomplete data is a more common problem than not tracking sleep entirely, and it can affect any Fitbit. It doesnt matter if its the recent crop such as Sense, Versa 3 or an older device. It happens on occasion. A good example is the Fitbit Inspire 2. At the start of this year many users were complaining that the device would not track sleep at all. We wrote a piece at the time on how to resolve. This was a major issue at the time.
First off, you should always try turning the wearable on and off i.e. a soft restart. That reboots your device but keeps all you data on it. Think of it like switching a desktop computer on and off. This simple thing can resolve many problems and is something definitely worth trying out.If youre not sure how to do this, check out our guide on how to reset your Fitbit fitness tracker or smartwatch.
Recommended Reading: Fitbit Change Sleep Sensitivity
Design/comfort: Can Be Sweaty
The Fitbit Charge 3 is made of lightweight, aerospace-grade aluminum and Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is chemically engineered to be super durable and damage-resistant. The device itself is good as is, and the included band is comfortable, but you can make some upgrades to improve its look and use.
If youll primarily be using the Charge 3 for exercise, I recommend going with the sport band that allows ventilation. While not a deal breaker, I found that sweat tends to build up underneath the solid rubber band of the original. You can buy this from Fitbit, but there are tons of other versions available online, as well. If you want to wear the Fitbit to work or out at night, you can purchase bands that make it look more like a bracelet or watch rather than a fitness device. The Charge 3 also allows some customization to the watch face through the Fitbit app.
I found it was easy to see my stats during outdoor workouts, and it wasnt shockingly bright at night, either.
There are a few updates that I think make the Charge 3 more enjoyable to use than the second iteration, such as automatic screen brightness and the ability to dim the light. I found it was easy to see my stats during outdoor workouts, and it wasnt shockingly bright at night, either.