I wrote about The Secret to a Good Night Sleep is Knowing your Sleep Patterns and wanted to shed some insight on the two different models, one with Heart Rate capability, and one without.
In December 2017, the difference between the 2 models was about £25 or $30USD.
So I decided to wear BOTH units going to bed on a weekend, where I normally sleep well over 8 hours. (both on the same wrist) During the work week, I don’t have that luxury, as it’s more like 6 hours. Sometimes less when you subtract the awake and restlessness :(
The above screenshot is from the FitBit Alta+HR. Note how the 4 stages are clearly identified, based on the built in heart rate monitor.
The pattern is the same from previous sleeps… an initial period of approximately 3 hours of deep sleep, then I awake usually to use the bathroom. Finally, I fall back asleep for several hours, usually in 90 min cycles of REM sleep where I have crazy dreams. Alcohol affects those dreams, especially when drinking cheap alcohol :)
Then again, I don’t use an alarm on weekends and wake up naturally, usually at the end of REM sleep.
I DO NOT sleep at the same time during the week, and do not get up at the same time. I know I suggested that as one of my tips for better sleep, but it simply does not work for me. In fact, it’s not uncommon for me to take a nap on weekends despite sleeping 9 hours!
The above chart is from a Fitbit Alta with no heart rate capabilities.
As you can see, the difference is how the fitness tracker identifies “restlessness” based on movement. You can see the patterns of roughly 90 minute cycles.
Differences in the FitBit Alta vs Fitbit Alta+HR?
The main differences (other than HR capabilities) are:
- the Alta is slightly thinner and therefore lighter
- the Alta strap is a click-through-the-holes, where the Alta+HR is the standard “belt style” mechanism.
So there you have it. Both are good models, and they will make you conscious of getting better sleep, as well as longer sleep periods. The most important measure is sleep duration and sleep quality.