How Fitbit Developed the Sleep Profile Expertise

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Fitbit is all the time on the lookout for methods to assist customers sleep higher. You might already pay attention to some methods your Fitbit may help you get a greater evening’s relaxation, particularly in the event you frequently test your Sleep Rating, however do you know that we’ve dialed even deeper into sleep insights that can assist you perceive your sleep well being in a complete new means? 

The customized Sleep Profile with Fitbit Premium goes past nightly monitoring to research your sleep over a month-long interval. It consists of three parts: your month-to-month sleep evaluation based mostly on 10 key sleep metrics, schooling and steering, and your Sleep Animal. Inquisitive about how Fitbit researchers went about creating this essential new characteristic? Hold studying to be taught extra—direct from the supply.

We chatted with Karla Gleichauf, a analysis scientist on the Client Well being Analysis Group, which leverages Fitbit biometric knowledge to assist customers sleep higher. Her current work consists of research on inhabitants traits in sleep and well being outcomes, along with inventing and creating the Sleep Profile. As a Fitbitter with almost 7 years beneath her belt, Karla has labored in a number of analysis areas together with bodily exercise, diabetes, and now sleep. Previous to Fitbit, Karla obtained a PhD from Stanford in Environmental Fluid Mechanics, engaged on boats in coastal environments and modeling their flows. Karla has gone from working with sensors within the water to sensors on the wrist.

The place did the thought for Sleep Profile come from?

KARLA: We wished to assist customers find out about their sleeping patterns and perceive how they might sleep higher. This meant creating an expertise that assessed customers’ sleep well being with their Fitbit knowledge. Wholesome sleep is just not the absence of sleep issues however as a substitute, it promotes bodily and psychological well-being, and is related to optimistic well being outcomes. 

If we might measure customers’ sleep well being, we additionally had the chance to see if there have been distinct sleeper varieties, a query that’s an lively space of analysis in sleep science. We thought that telling a consumer about their sleeper sort can be a enjoyable, approachable, and nonjudgmental method to find out about their sleep. It could additionally present a benchmark of people that sleep like them. With Sleep Profile, we’re in a position to present scientific rigor packaged in a pleasant means, to supply perception and steering to customers.

Why is Fitbit effectively positioned to tackle this problem?

Fitbit has been pioneering sleep monitoring since 2009, together with metrics like Sleep Rating to assist customers get a extra granular take a look at their total sleep, and incorporating suggestions for the way to turn out to be extra rested and recharged. Utilizing a Fitbit to trace sleep has key benefits, even over a sleep lab. For one factor, you possibly can see a holistic view of sleep metrics courting way back to you’d like. Because of Fitbit’s historical past, and the prevalence of gadgets, we set about analyzing 22 billion hours of sleep knowledge.

What had been some challenges the group confronted?

There is no such thing as a phenotyping in literature that’s inclusive of information we seize at Fitbit. Other than acquainted sleep patterns—like evening owls and morning larks—there aren’t universally accepted wholesome sleeping patterns that we might reference, so we turned to the information to see if we might discover distinct patterns.This was a cross practical effort with folks from Google and Fitbit’s knowledge visualization, Product, Design, Consumer Analysis (UXR), Scientific, and Analysis & Growth groups. 

How did the group set about characterizing sleep?

Fitbit researchers initially engineered hundreds of options impressed by educational analysis and observations made with Fitbit’s largest longitudinal sleep dataset accessible. For instance, we developed a number of metrics describing a consumer’s issue falling asleep, equivalent to a consumer’s chance of a wake occasion within the first hour of sleep, and the time it takes them to achieve “sound” sleep, impressed by sleep literature’s latency to persistent sleep. We additionally developed options characterizing sleep structure, equivalent to common sleep cycle size and the way lengthy it takes you to get to numerous phases of sleep. 

We then lowered the options all the way down to crucial utilizing unsupervised machine studying and statistical methods. We experimented with dividing the inhabitants into subpopulations, discovering that there have been 6 sleeper sort clusters. We then investigated what traits had been most associated to every sleep cluster, and labored with sleep consultants in home (sleep neurologist, clinicians, and researchers) and in academia (equivalent to Dr. Michael Grandner and Dr. Allison Siebern, in addition to Dr. Logan Schneider) to outline which metrics had been most essential to getting higher sleep. We finally landed on 10 longitudinal sleep options within the “Month-to-month Sleep Evaluation.”

5 of those metrics are completely new to Fitbit, which describe customers’ sleep habits (sleep schedule variability, days with naps), sleep upkeep (nights with lengthy awakenings, sleep stability), and sleep onset (time earlier than sound sleep).

What did the group uncover?

We had been stunned to search out {that a} larger incidence of quick awakenings, that are 30 seconds or longer, had been related to higher well being and health, equivalent to decrease BMI, decrease RHR, and better lively minutes. We found that awakenings three minutes or longer was the edge for when well being outcomes started to show extra detrimental. As well as, we discovered that there are 6 distinct sleeper varieties. The commonest sleeper sort, the Giraffe, tends to not get a number of sleep however sleep solidly after they do. The least widespread sleeper sort, Dolphin, usually goes to mattress at variable instances, they often have lengthy awakenings, they usually take naps extra typically than most.  

How did you flip the learnings into sleep animals?

As soon as we recognized the sleeper varieties, we needed to determine: what’s the applicable metaphor? How will we convey metaphors in a culturally delicate means in a globally accessible product? We examined animals versus different choices and determined that animals had been essentially the most relatable. Then, we had to determine which animals to make use of. Our UXR group spoke to lecturers and consultants in spokescharacters, animism, totemism, and animal sleep patterns. 

Do you know?

  • The animal with the very best proportion of girls is the Tortoise, who tends to go to sleep extra slowly and get an inexpensive quantity of sleep total.
  • The sleep animal with the oldest customers is the Hedgehog, who usually will get decrease quantities of deep and REM sleep. The Hedgehog additionally has the very best proportion of males.
  • The commonest sleeper sort is the Giraffe, who tends to not get a number of sleep however sleep solidly after they do.
  • The least widespread sleeper sort is the Dolphin, who usually goes to mattress at variable instances; they often have lengthy awakenings, they usually take naps extra typically than most.  

What can customers do with this data?

Customers might learn to sleep higher from their Sleep Profile. Your Sleep Animal highlights total traits in your sleep and may help you perceive the way you sleep relative to others. Your Month-to-month Sleep Evaluation assesses the ten dimensions of your sleep well being and reveals you areas of sleep that you simply’ve been doing effectively and areas you can enhance.

As an illustration, final month my Sleep Animal was a Giraffe as a result of I tended to go to mattress late, get much less sleep than most customers, however didn’t have a lot time spent awake. My Month-to-month Sleep Evaluation confirmed that my “Sleep Begin Time” and “Sleep Schedule Variability” had been larger than the perfect vary, highlighting that these had been the areas I might enhance.

Fitbit continues to innovate in sleep monitoring. From analysis, design and past, we see sleep as one a part of a broader set of well being and wellness patterns. The quantity or timing of train impacts sleep, vitamin interacts with sleep high quality, long-term adjustments to each day habits can have an effect on key sleep metrics, and Fitbit helps deliver all these areas collectively to assist our customers stay their finest lives.


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