Keepin' it real · whine and cheese

Day 249: Too much information.

Three weeks ago, I got a fitbit.

The idea was for me to use it for a couple of weeks, to see whether I would sleep as well with a mouth guard as with my CPAP machine. I dutifully recorded my sleep for one week using the CPAP and another week using the mouth guard. I even did a couple of nights with neither intervention, to see what a baseline would look like.

Now I have reams of sleep data: heart rate, oxygen saturation ranges, restlessness, time spent awake vs. asleep, and amount of time spent in various sleep stages. I had naïvely assumed that with that much information I’d be able to see the advantages and disadvantages of each sleep intervention.

I wasn’t. Not because there was no discernible difference, but because there was so much noise. One night N woke me up at midnight because his nose was bleeding; another night I went to sleep late and inexplicably woke up at 4 a.m. You get the idea. I see why good empirical studies are hard to do: you need such a large amount of data to know anything for certain.

While the sleep issue is still an open question, the fitbit has been helpful for convincing Mr. December that we need to pick up the pace of our morning walks. I was incredulous at first, but we can walk for twenty-five minutes and still not have logged even one minute of sufficiently elevated heart rate (over 110 bpm, apparently.) I’ve also learned that on an average day, I climb the equivalent of twenty-four flights of stairs just by running up and down between the kids while they work.

This morning the skin of my wrist was very irritated underneath the Fitbit band. I took it off and decided not to bother wearing it for a while. Instead, I’m letting N wear it for a few nights. We’re still trying to figure out his sleep issues. Are his oxygen sats highly variable? How long is it taking him to fall asleep?

After my experience with it, I’m not holding out much hope of clear answers. I was right that the Fitbit would give me plenty of information; but I can’t seem to analyze it in any meaningful way. In the end I’m just left with an itchy wrist and too much information.

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