Singaporeans are one of the worst sleepers in the world. Fitbit wants that to change with Versa 2

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Singaporeans aren’t getting enough sleep. And that’s a clearly bad thing. Being a fitness metrics company with 10.5 billion nights of sleep data, Fitbit wants to change how the country can slumber for the better. 

The data they collated from 18 markets worldwide indicated that Singapore is the third most sleep-deprived nation globally (behind Japan and India), clocking in an average nightly sleep of seven hours and five minutes. Which, to be fair, is still within the recommended range of seven to nine hours, but a good deal lower than the average nightly sleep of Americans and Brits. 

It doesn’t help that a majority of Singaporeans go to bed later than most folks in other countries — 12.11am on average, according to Fitbit. But more importantly, we aren’t getting quality sleep. The company shared that we only get 80 minutes of deep Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep — the stage identified with low muscle tone throughout the body and a crucial phase that stimulates areas of the brain essential in learning as well as retaining memory. 

Annoyingly so, some of us may not even be actually snoozing while in bed (get your mind out of the gutter, we’re not talking about that bed-related activity). Fitbit data shows that Singaporeans spend an average of 57 minutes away on average each night, representing close to 13.5 per cent of their nightly sleep spent not resting properly. 

Versa 2, Fitbit’s newfangled sleep trainer

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Being synonymous with activity bands for a long time, Fitbit wants to get in on that smartwatch slice of the pie — a fact made evident when it acquired Pebble in 2016. After pushing out the Fitbit Ionic in 2017, the company released a more affordable smartwatch called the Fitbit Versa last year, a decent enough wearable with all the bells and whistles of an advanced fitness tracker on top of being a notification dinger. 

A lot of people loved it, so it’s not surprising that Fitbit decided it was prime time for an upgrade. Hitting various electronics retailers islandwide on Sept 15 this year is the Fitbit Versa 2, which sports a brighter AMOLED screen and an array of extraneous features this time around. 

PHOTO: AsiaOne

There’s an onboard microphone, mobile payment functionality, a variety of straps to choose from, an optional always-on mode, Spotify playback control and… onboard Alexa. Which is a digital assistant not supported in Singapore so talking to it won’t be much help. 

The Versa 2 sports a faster processor to get all the fitness data business running smoother than before, but where Singapore is concerned, Fitbit is interested in getting the watch’s sleep-tracking capabilities onto the wrists of the sleep-deprived. That’s where the Sleep Score comes in. 

Gamifying sleep

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Fitbit’s Versa 2 comes with a feature called Sleep Score, which essentially condenses your sleep data into something quantifiable, like scoring an X amount out of 100. The bigger your rating, the better you slept. 

“We introduced Sleep Score because a lot of our users in the past mentioned that the insights on the hours of sleep, deep sleep, REM… what does it all mean? Unless they really went researching about the data will they know,” Fitbit’s Southeast Asia Regional Director Louis Lye told AsiaOne. 

“So we made it simple — now we tell you your score. It’s determined by the hours of sleep, the optimum sleep stages, and periods of elevated heart rate. We tabulate it all and give you your score.” 

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Lye mentioned that having a quantifiable score psychologically influences users to sleep better to get higher marks. The five-day battery life on the Versa 2 would also mean that users don’t have to worry about charging the smartwatch when they go to sleep, he added.

Another feature that’ll help Fitbit users sleep better is the Smart Wake alarm feature, that will wake them up at the optimal point of their sleep cycle. This, according to Fitbit, will have users waking up feeling more refreshed. Unfortunately, it’s a function that’ll only arrive later this year. 

PHOTO: AsiaOne

Either way, if you feel that you’re not getting enough quality rest, it wouldn’t harm you to have a personalised sleep trainer on hand (or on wrist, to be exact). The Fitbit Versa 2 will be available for $318 across leading local retailers including Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Gain City, Harvey Norman, e-Gadgets, and Lazada from Sept 15. 

ilyas@asiaone.com

SERVICES