Stress is very personal, not knowing how to tackle it makes it more stressful: Fitbit

By | August 27, 2022

Two years after launching stress management features on its smartwatches, Fitbit now believes stress is very personal depending on what the stressors are for an individual and how their body reacts to it or how it builds resilience.

Along with its new Fitbit Sense 2 smartwatch announced last week, the Google-owned fitness company is also introducing a body response sensor that measures continuous electrodermal activity (CDA) for all day stress management. “This type of sensor is typically used in scientific research devices. So not only are we really excited to bring it to people with Sense to but we are also excited about future opportunities,” Elena Perez, Group Product Manager, Google, explained to indianexpress.com.

Fitbit’s new body response feature also includes all-day heart rate, heart rate variability, and even skin temperature data to identify these acute moments of potential stress that show up as body responses. “When we notice or identify these body responses, we will notify you shortly after,” she said, adding that this was also to ensure the user is able to take some action, clarifying that “body responses can be triggered by a host of different things whether it be distress, excitement, or even stimulant like a lot of coffee”.

“Knowing that your body is having these signs of stress but not knowing what to do about it could be stressful on its own.” And this is why, understanding these body responses can help users better understand what your stressors are and Fitbit follows it up by suggesting tools that best manage that stress.

“Because stress is so personal,” Perez said, Fitbit is making the experience very customisable. “You can choose to turn off these notifications at any time. If you prefer to look at your data and reflect at the end of the night or at the end of the week. We put such high importance on stress management and personalisation, because we know the impact that can have on overall health.”

Asked how a person’s ethnicity for instance impacts this data, Perez clarified: “Because we tested with a variety of users, and because we realise that stress is so personal, the data really varies person to person. So it’s not really normalised in that way. It’s really done in a way where the algorithms is specific to every person.”

She said the data is based on individual CDA data coupled by heart rate, hear rate variation and skin temperature, which is really specific to each person. “So it really depends on each person’s reaction and body response at that moment.”

T J Varghese, Director of Product Management, Google, said Fitbit is also debuting the new sleep profile clock face with the Sense 2. “It’s a dynamic clock face that you can use and is fun to interact with and will be dynamic based on your sleep trends.”

Fitbit, fitbit stress monitoring, stress monitoring, The new Premium Sleep Profile introduces the concept of sleep animals based on monthly sleep analysis and makes it easier for users to understand their sleep patterns. (Image Source: Fitbit)

Sense 2 also takes Fitbit’s heart health features launched last year to the next level with irregular heart rate rhythm notifications using its PPG sensor that assess signs of AFib. “We have over 2 million people already enrolled,” he said, adding that with Fitbit premium users will be able to “go deeper into settings to surface additional insights and trends”. Plus, the Health Metrics dashboard now gives a holistic view of wellness metrics, including breathing rate and skin temperature variation.

The new Premium Sleep Profile introduces the concept of sleep animals based on monthly sleep analysis and makes it easier for users to understand their sleep patterns and find ways to improve sleep quality. “We analyse your data for the previous month and we provide you a summary of what’s typical for you and others like you and we use 10 different metrics including a few new data points, like slick, asleep, consistency, as well as time to sound sleep,” Varghese explained.

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