Why Manually Setting Sleep Monitoring is Better than Auto Detect

Why Manually Setting Sleep Monitoring is Better than Auto Detect

Sleep is an important part of overall health. Did you know that most people burn more calories sleeping than doing cardio activity? An 8-hour sleep session can burn over 600 calories. Those that eat right and do at least 30 minutes of HR level 3 or 4 cardio each day can still experience problems with weight loss if they don’t improve their sleeping habits. Sleep is that important to the overall equation.

While most of the fitness wearables today offer some type of sleep monitoring, Microsoft’s fitness wearable, the Band, is one of the only devices that offers both auto-detection and the ability to turn sleep monitoring on manually. In February 2016, I wrote an article (Microsoft Band: Auto-sleep Detection versus Using the Sleep Tile) outlining the differences between the two functions.

But, as I’ve been testing different devices against the Microsoft Band, I’ve come to the realization that auto-detect sleep is about as inaccurate a technology as wrist-based HR monitoring (read about that wrist-based HR monitoring HERE). There seems to be many factors in play that can trick any wearable that attempts to auto-detect when you’re asleep.

For example, a couple nights ago, the Garmin vivoactive HR (which I love almost as much as the Band 2) recorded 11 hours and 24 minutes of sleep.

For me, that’s almost impossible. Plus, check out the amount of deep sleep. Again, that never happens.

Thankfully, the Microsoft Band allows me to manually turn on sleep monitoring. For the same night, the Band recorded just over 7 hours of sleep.

From time to time, I see folks extol the value of auto-sleep for their particular fitness device. Then, I see discrepancy numbers like these and once again feel extremely happy that Microsoft has provided the ability to turn sleep monitoring on and off manually. This is yet another one of those underlying nuances that make the Microsoft Band so great.

Like wrist-based HR monitoring, auto-sleep detection technology will improve in the future (with these discrepancies it has to), but for now it’s a weak link in fitness tracking.

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