At Fitbit, our mission is to help everyone in the world live healthier lives. We develop products and services that help motivate and guide our users to prioritize their health.
Fitbit began offering tools and experiences to help users manage stress several years ago, starting with the Relax app on the Charge 2. We continue to enhance our stress management capabilities with additional tools such as the EDA Scan app on Sense and Charge 5, all-day body response tracking with notifications on Sense 2, and more mindfulness, meditation and relaxation content within the Fitbit app with premium offerings. Previous Fitbit research has shown that listening to Fitbit’s sleep-related mindfulness content can improve sleep quality, but randomized clinical trials also suggest that mindfulness can help improve mental and physical health, including chronic pain and depression.
There is growing evidence that even brief mindfulness sessions can have positive, lasting effects on resilience, perceived stress, heart rate variability, and focus. Also, brief relaxation exercises, such as engaging in two minutes of guided breathing, can have an immediate reducing effect on physiological and perceived markers of stress. With that in mind, we wanted to start looking at and understanding the health implications of Fitbit’s stress management tools.
To do this, Fitbit product analysts analyzed anonymized and aggregated data from consenting users who used our tools in different ways and at different frequencies to see if users who used more, improved their health compared to less engaged users.
We identified two groups of users who engaged in different levels of relaxation and mindfulness activities (or “RAMA”) during the 28 US holiday-free days between January 15, 2022 and February 11, 2022. We identified a group that was even higher. engaged with the mindfulness tool, while the second group did not differ in all other respects—region, geography, and age, for example—but did very little mindfulness.
The group that was engaged participated in any combination of the following activities: EDA scan, Relax Guided Breathing, and audio content from the Mindfulness section under Discover in the Fitbit app.
A key difference between the two groups was the frequency of relaxation and mindfulness activities (RAMA). We used propensity score matching to match these users to a set of variables that predict health, such as physical activity levels (which we measured by steps and active zone minutes). We then compared these groups for health cues the following week between February 12 and 18, 2022, and noted that users who engaged in regular mindfulness saw positive changes in their resting heart rate, sleep scores, and stress management scores.
More details below:
- Users who averaged 6 sessions of RAM on 5 days for at least 6 minutes over a 28-day period had, on average, 0.90 bpm lower resting heart rate (RHR), and 0.30 and 0.39 higher stress management and sleep. 1 RAMA session average scores the following week compared to comparable users [higher number is better; total users=11,970]
- Users who averaged 16 sessions of RAMA for at least 2 minutes over a 28-day period had 1.0 bpm lower RHR and 0.66 and 0.52 higher stress and sleep scores the following week than comparable users who averaged 1 RAMA session. [total users=5,274]
- Users who completed at least 4 EDA scan apps (2 min) over a 28-day period had 0.42 bpm lower RHR and 0.64 and 0.42 higher stress and sleep scores in the following week than users who averaged 1 EDA scan app. [total users=4,324]
- Users who had at least 1 EDA scan per day over a 28-day period had 1.39 bpm lower RHR, and 1.82 and 1.32 higher stress and sleep scores in the following week than users who averaged 1 EDA scan over the 28-day period. [total users=1,406]
- Users who used at least two minutes of RAMA for five days over a 28-day period had 0.43 bpm lower resting heart rates, and 0.47 higher sleep and 0.36 higher stress management scores in the following week than comparable users who averaged 1 RAMA session. [total users=22,836]
In a follow-up analysis of 190,964 Fitbit Premium users, we found that each 2-minute guided breathing session, EDA scan session, and even just listening to meditation audio in the Fitbit app reduced heart rate by an average of 4.92 bpm, 2.32. bpm and 4.53 bpm respectively.
Editor’s note: Because these analyzes were observational in nature, we were unable to control for all variables that predict health (for example, stressful life events), so it is possible that the associations we found with RAMA and health were attributable to other unobserved characteristics. . between parties
Although the absolute effect of RAMA on health was small, all associations listed above were statistically significant (statistical metrics showing that there is conclusive evidence for a health effect). Prospective controlled studies are needed to confirm the magnitude and duration of effects of RAMA on RHR, sleep, and stress management scores.
The results of this preliminary study highlight how small amounts of relaxation and mindfulness can improve resting heart rate through in-the-moment stress management and help build your ability to respond to stress over time.
We hope this inspires more users to schedule even smaller increments throughout their days, weeks, and months. In the meantime, at Fitbit, we’ll continue to identify and expand ways to improve your health and keep you posted on our progress. Stay healthy!
Users who had an average of 16 sessions of RAMA, each for at least 2 minutes 1 lower bpm RHR, 0.66 and 0.52 High stress and sleep scores Compared to comparisons users were born by gender, age, premium status, world region, AZM, step count, active days and device type but only had 1 session.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, changing your sleeping habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.