Fitbit Sleep Tracking

Most fitness trackers only measure the number of steps you take and the number of calories burned. However, there are those that measure your sleep habits as well. This includes how long you sleep and the quality of your sleep. Fitbit trackers are one of the best options for tracking your sleep pattern. With Fitbit sleep tracking, you can correlate your sleep patterns to habits that you might have control over such as meals, drinks, sleeping time, waking time and your activities during the day. Read on to find out more about sleep tracking with Fitbit trackers.

Why Can Fitbit Track Sleeping?

The ability of Fitbit trackers to track sleep patterns is down to the fact that it’s fitted with sensors called accelerometers. They help detect the wearers’ motion along with the direction and speed of the motion. When the tracker detects that you haven’t moved in over an hour, the algorithm assumes that you are asleep. This is often supported by the kind of movements you make while you’re asleep such as rolling over. Your movements in the morning tell the tracker that you have woken up. This mechanism is not perfect and for this reason can falsely assume that you’re asleep after you have stayed for too long without moving. When this happens, simply delete the sleep record from your dashboard.

Fitbit sleep tracking works differently for different models as explained below:

  • Fitbit Ultra, One, Flex and Zip: Enter the time you spent asleep on the Fitbit website or in the app. Fitbit will use the accelerometer data to establish whether you were asleep, awake or restless during that time frame. This data is based on the movements of your wrist during the time you said you were asleep.
  • Fitbit Surge, Charge HR, Charge, Force: These 4 models determine the beginning and end of your sleep automatically based on your movements for one hour. You can always enter the time manually if you feel autodetection is not accurate.

How to Make Fitbit Track Sleeping Work

Surge/Charge HR/Force and Charge

Surge helps track sleep automatically. All you need to do is to wear your device to bed. You will be able to view your stats when the tracker syncs with your account.


After getting into bed, tap you Flex for about 2 seconds. The tracker will vibrate and display 2 slowly dimming lights as an indicator for sleep mode. Goal progress is not displayed while the device is in this mode.

After you wake up, tap your Flex rapidly for about 2 seconds. The device will exit sleep mode. When you do this, the Flex will flash and vibrate 3 times and then display a spinning light pattern. You can view your stats after Flex has synced with your Fitbit account. 


To activate sleep tracking, hold the button on the tracker for several seconds. You will notice the stopwatch begin to count or the icons start to blink. This is an indication that the device is in sleep mode. After you wake up, hold the tracker’s button for about 2 seconds to exit sleep mode.

How Accurate Are the Results?

While trackers are considered generally accurate, they are also prone to errors. While it is easy to keep track of the number of steps, length and quality of sleep is a whole other ball game. It is virtually impossible for the trackers to determine when you fall asleep. A West Virginia University associate professor called Montgomery-Downs also calls into question the reliability of sleep monitors.

FAQs About Fitbit Sleep Tracking

1.      Can I Track a Sleep Goal?

Fitbit sleep tracking allows you to set a sleep goal to help you achieve a regular and healthy sleep cycle. This can be done through the Fitbit dashboard

  • Click the gear icon at the bottom of the sleep tile.
  • Input your sleep goal
  • Save

2.      What Is The Difference Between The Normal And Sensitive Sleep Setting?

You can have your Fitbit set to “sensitive” where it gives a detailed record of your sleep patterns or “normal” for basic stats. In the “normal” setting, only significant movements are measured such as rolling over. The “sensitive” setting measures every single movement no matter how inconsequential. The “sensitive” setting is ideal for people with sleeping disorders. 

3.      How Do I View and Change The Sleep Mode Setting?

Log into your Fitbit dashboard and click on the gear icon at the top right hand corner of your screen. Select “Settings” then navigate to the Sleep Sensitivity setting. Choose “Sensitive” or “Normal”. Sync your tracker for any changes to take effect.

4.      What Do The Various Sleep States Mean?

When using Fitbit sleep tracking, the restless sleep state means that your body transitioned from a state of rest to movement. This implies that you weren’t getting the most restful sleep at that moment. When the tracker says that you were moving too much making restful sleep impossible, your graph will show that you were awake.

5.      How Is Sleep Efficiency Calculated?

Sleep efficiency is calculated with the following formula: 100 * time asleep / (time restless + time asleep + time awoken during sleep). The time it takes to fall asleep is not factored into the calculation. This means that if you do not move all night, you can get 100% sleep efficiency even if it took 30 minutes to fall asleep.

6.     Why Should I Place Fitbit Ultra Or One On My Wrist As Opposed To My Torso When Sleeping?

You should wear the Fitbit on the wrist of your non-dominant hand. This ensures that the full range of motions is captured. Your torso does not move as much and it makes it more difficult to track your movements.

7.      Why Can’t I See the Sleep Graph for Last Night?

If your tracker autodetects sleep, it might take a while before it registers that you’re awake. Therefore, you should wait for up to an hour for your sleep log to appear.

8.      I Wasn't Asleep When My Sleep Graph Says I Was. Why?

Sometimes the tracker may not autodetect when you’ve taken it off your wrist. It may record a sleep log in error. You can always delete the sleep log by accessing your dashboard.

9.      I Wasn’t Awake When My Sleep Graph Says I Was. How Come?

If you turn and toss a lot while sleeping, the tracker might record that you’re awake. If you feel that the sleep graph does not depict a true picture of your sleep pattern, you might want to set sensitivity to normal. This will give you a more general overview of your sleeping pattern. 

10.     Can I Log a Nap?

If your tracker is set to automatically track sleep, then all naps that last at least one hour should be tracked. For shorter naps, set your tracker to sleep mode. When your tracker syncs, you will be able to view your sleep log.

For device specific troubleshooting and setup questions related to sleep tracking, click here

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