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Who knows better – you or your Fitbit?  

Do you have a Fitbit? Apple Watch? Smartphone?

Do you get your 10,000 steps a day? Does the device help motivate you to be more aware of your body?  Or might it get between you and your body?

The era/idea of the “quantified self” is an interesting and important one in health care – it can be enlightening, awareness building, and motivating  to people to develop new healthy lifestyle habits.

In general, I’m in favor of them as motivating devices, even though they are not very accurate.

But there is a downside — some people come to believe what’s on their device more than they believe what they feel from their bodies.  I have patients who, as far as they know, sleep well at night and wake up refreshed, but are concerned, even frightened because their Fitbit says they aren’t getting enough REM sleep, or deep sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has taken a reasonable position on these non-proven and non-FDA approved devices, acknowledging that their use may demonstrate a “commitment to improving sleep quality” while also noting patients whose anxiety over sleep can be increased by the readings from the devices.

The devices are also not very accurate when it comes to measuring movement and intensity of activity – so, again, they can be motivating, which is desirable, but I wouldn’t plan the intensity of my workout around them. I’d rather see most of my patients  spend the money on an ethical and knowledgeable trainer who can help them develop a better relationship with their bodies.

What’s your experience with these devices and apps? Have they helped you become more in tune with your body, or have they come between you and your body?  
 
Let me know your thoughts and experiences at mrmd555@mac.com 
 

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