My work schedule had me travelling, on my feet for 12 hours a day, and sleeping in unfamiliar hotels. I thought it a good time to try a couple of the activity and sleep monitors available. I wanted to know how active I was and how well I was sleeping, so that I could make educated decisions on how to arrive home to family healthy, happy, and relatively energetic.
I had to endure TSA screenings, so limited myself to a wristband and a clip. The wristband counted my steps, calories burned during activity, and a branded “fuel” count with a goal for the day. The clip measured steps, floors climbed, distance traveled, total daily calories burned, and the quantity and quality of sleep. The clip also had options to monitor food and water intake, but I was not going to use them.
The first step to getting the data is wearing the devices. The wristband was more visible, and easier to check throughout the day. I took it off before bed and put it on after showering. The clip’s larger belt clip had broken (most do). I clipped it on a keychain so it would be harder to lose. I had to remember to put it in a pants pocket. It came with a spandex wristband with a pocket for sleeping. Neither device could be worn through TSA screening.
As a pedometer, the clip was more accurate. The wristband seemed to measure arm swings, so under-counted while pulling or carrying anything. The clip was fooled by elevation changes (not elevators), so over-counted flights climbed a little bit. The clip calculated stride length based height and gender, but also allowed me to input it. My stride is about 20% longer than average, so this was a nice feature.
Both devices have websites and apps to enter your gender, height and weight, but only the clip calculated total daily calorie consumption. The wristband’s calorie count was rather depressing, especially when you consider it was under-counting steps.
The activity measurements were nice, but the clip’s sleep monitoring was insightful. Although the rattling window unit, refrigerator, and service closets in my rooms seemed to keep me awake, my data showed that I went to sleep quickly, and was only awakened 4-6 times per night for very short periods. Being able to track and log total hours and quality of sleep helped me alter my surroundings for better sleep. Unplugging the refrigerator at night, and turning down the heater, helped decrease my “awakenings.”
So, what device was better? It was easier to keep track of the wristband, but the clip is stealthier in a pocket. The clip more accurately measured steps, offered other measurements. The clip provided more useful (and encouraging) caloric data. This wristband did not monitor sleep (others do), which I found the most critical and adaptable data.
Get a clip if you want accurate step count and other useful information. Get a wristband if you tend to lose or forget small things in pockets. Sleep monitoring is a great feature, but consider how much you will be using it. Prices for various models and brands are similar, so you will have a choice.