Fitness apps – tracking your sleep

This past weekend I had one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a very long time!

I went to bed at 2am and woke up at 10:30 am. Nothing in between, just a solid 8.5 hour sleep with some vivid dreams. It was great and I felt rested.

While laying in bed for a little while longer I did what we all do and played on my phone for a bit. One item of playing was a notification from the S Health application on my phone. I’ve been using it a little bit for tracking water intake, caffeine intake and sometimes take my pulse. A pretty cool app.

About a week or so ago I saw that the app could track sleep so I figured I’d check that out too. You can put in a goal of when you want to go to sleep and when you want to wake up.

During the week my sleep is pretty regular so I put my bedtime as midnight and my wake time as 6:20. So, each day during the week I crushed it. I was getting badges and awards all over the place because I consistently went to bed at that time, give or take and hour, and got up at 6:20 every day.

This time however, was Saturday. I wasn’t working so there was no alarm set. I went to bed later and got up later.

As I said, it was one of the best sleeps I’ve had in a long time. When I entered my data however I got this:

Screenshot_2015-10-24-13-42-20

It was considered a “poor” sleep because I didn’t got to bed nor get up at the times listed in my goal.

Maybe there is a way to have a separate weekend goal but I’ve only been using this feature for a few days and didn’t really dig into all the options.

Either way, I still have the same issue of: how can the app really know how good my sleep is? All week I’ve been reaching awards by the apps standards yet still feeling tired. However, when I sleep well and finally feel good, my sleep gets rated poor.

This is my point for the whole article.

I really appreciate apps and technology and what they’ve been doing for our lives. Just the other week actually I had an incredible experience of Facebook notifying me and my friends our “safety status” because we were in the affected area of hurricane Patricia. However, I still have a hard time getting on board with most apps because of how limited they are.

For something like sleep, and any other health variable as far as I’m concerned, there are many factors that will affect the quality. Basing everything on when you go to sleep and when you get up really doesn’t tell you much. It’s kinda like saying I’m unhealthy because I weigh 200lbs or because my BMI is over 27. One metric can’t give me that conclusion.

When you’re only looking at one small piece, you’ll never understand the whole puzzle.

So Galaxy S Health sleep app, and fitness apps everywhere, thanks for being a fun toy that allows my inner nerd to feel incredibly special while quantifying my life, but I don’t think you’ll ever truly know how well I slept last night. Thanks but no thanks.

~ Chad

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