I’m a fan of fitness wearables. I wore a Jawbone UP for several months before making the leap to a Fitbit Charge HR. I even wore the Jawbone and Fitbit together for a while to compare accuracy and data.
When I finally decided that I would go with the Fitbit, I let my 8-year-old have my Jawbone. She was in Girls on the Run and wanted to see how far she was running. I adjusted the goals in the app to better suit her (5,000 steps and 9 hours of sleep).
I hadn’t anticipated using the sleep data for her. I really didn’t think that she was having trouble sleeping. Soon, I started seeing patterns in her sleep and wake cycles and being able to correlate that with her behavior. When she had longer wake periods throughout the night, she behavior was affected during the day.
I started keeping a journal of her sleep with the data I got from the Jawbone and the behavior I observed. On the nights that she was having issues getting to sleep or staying asleep, I started asking her questions. It broke my heart when she was crying because she couldn’t shut her mind off.
How long has this gone on? How did I miss it?
Enter the Mom guilt.
I researched the accuracy of fitness wearables and didn’t find much. It’s still a relatively new technology to be applied to children. I did find an article that tested children wearing fitness trackers. While none tested were either that I’ve tried, it did give me hope that the research exists and more is in the works. Another article also pointed to the challenges of fitness trackers for kids. One being that children are more active in their sleep than adults and that the band could give some inaccurate results for sleep.
Was I being over-analytical? Was I creating a problem that didn’t need to exist?
I did some research about how much sleep an 8-year-old should get. Between 9-11 hours according to the National Sleep Foundation.
I tracked her sleep for a few weeks before calling our pediatrician. I relayed my concerns and scheduled an appointment. She was due for a med-check anyway. Of course, expect for the day of the appointment, she’d slept great, with only a few days where she’d had significant sleep disturbances.
Okay, I overracted. No harm done. Her grades are fine. No complaints from her teacher.
Except that she can’t get to sleep and doesn’t stay asleep. Some nights she’s up for hours in the middle of the night. Sometimes she will wake me up, other times she won’t. She’ll play. She’ll read.
She was crying the other day, exhausted, wanting to fall sleep. Tears streaming down her face that she can’t shut her mind off. She told me about the ponies (her My Little Pony toys that she’d been playing with), the math facts she’d been working on at school, the book she’d been reading.
More Mom guilt.
So, back to the drawing board we go!
Quantified Kids: Researchers Test Fitness Trackers in Youngsters
Fitness Trackers Could Boost Kids’ Health, But Face Challenges, Experts Say
Children and Sleep