Fitbit not tracking sleep or is not accurate? Let’s fix it

Fitbit woman sleeping with Fitbit tracking sleep stages

Fitbits are a great option if you want insight into your sleep habits.

All Fitbit trackers except the Fitbit Zip monitor your sleep patterns, detecting how much time you spend awake, restless, and asleep.

If you own a newer version of Fitbit with a heart rate sensor, you get an even more detailed sleep report showing light, deep, and REM sleep time.

These Fitbits use your movement and heart rate information to estimate how long you spend in light, deep, and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep each night.

But what if the device on your wrist is not tracking sleep properly? Or it’s inconsistent or even inaccurate?

Does your Fitbit say you’ve only had 2 hours of sleep when in reality, you know you’ve had 8? Or perhaps your sleep stages or sleep score are not showing?

If that sounds like your Fitbit and the Fitbit app, we’ve got some great troubleshooting tips that should get your Fitbit tracking your sleep accurately AND consistently!

Related reading

in a hurry graphicTry these tips when your Fitbit isn’t tracking sleep

  • Wear your Fitbit on your wrist and not in a clip or pendant.
  • Try wearing your Fitbit in a different position or switch the arm your Fitbit is on and verify it’s using the on-wrist setting and not the on-clip setting (for trackers like the Inspire Series or some Charge models.)
    • Also, tighten your Fitbit so you can’t easily move it around your wrist (and preferably, two fingers above the wrist bone).
    • It shouldn’t slide around your wrist while you’re sleeping. If it’s too loose, it can’t consistently track your heart rate and won’t be able to determine your sleep stages. 
  • Sync your Fitbit to the app.
  • Clean your Fitbits sensors.
  • Check your Fitbit battery level. If your battery is too low (less than 15% remaining,) sleep tracking might not work or might not last for the entire night.
  • Change sleep sensitivity settings.
  • Don’t select “going to bed.”
  • Check heart rate settings, especially if you don’t see your sleep stages.
  • Remove and re-add Fitbit.
  • Restart Fitbit.
  • Factory reset.

Understanding how Fitbit detects your sleep

Fitbit recognizes that you are sleeping only when your body is resting without significant movements for an hour.

Once your body passes that hour, your Fitbit begins gathering data about the quality of your sleep.

For the first few hours (less than 3), your Fitbit categorizes your sleep into three categories: restless, awake, or asleep. Fitbit simple sleep report with asleep and awake and restless patterns

Once you pass the 3-hour threshold, it starts recording different types of sleep–called your sleep stages. These stages include light, deep, and REM (rapid-eye movement.) 

Your Fitbit app then uses those sleep stages to calculate a sleep score. Sleep stages and sleep score on Fitbit in Fitbit app

Not all Fitbits support sleep staging

Only Fitbits with heart-rate sensors can record your sleep stages.

Additionally, you must wear these Fitbits on your wrist/arm and set them to wrist mode to collect your sleep stage information.

However, both the Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge are exceptions and can’t record sleep stages, even though they include heart rate sensors.

If your Fitbit does not have a heart rate sensor or is the Charge HR and Surge, it can only record when you are asleep, restless, or awake.

Sync your Fitbit with the app Sync Now on Fitbit app

It’s important to sync your Fitbit after waking up to see your sleep statistics in the Fitbit app.

So if you’re missing your previous night’s sleep information (or even a couple of night’s data), make sure you sync before thinking something is wrong. It may not be!

You can manually sync your Fitbit by tapping the Sync Now button in the Fitbit app’s device menu.

Clean Fitbit sensors sensors on Fitbit smartwatch

Cleaning your Fitbit often solves the problem since it removes any oil, dirt, or other grime that may impede your Fitbit sensors from gathering data.

Only use fresh water and a soap-free cleanser (like Cetaphil) to clean your Fitbit. Soap often leaves a residue that often results in worse performance!

Additionally, to minimize the potential for damage to your Fitbit, avoid direct contact with any lotion, including sunscreen or insect-repellent sprays.

Skin lotions are also thought to reduce the effectiveness of the sensors—the same holds for tattoos.

So don’t place the sensors in your wrist or arm areas with tattooed skin or in areas where you recently applied lotion.

And always wipe (or wipe and clean) your Fitbit, both back and front, after a sweaty workout since sweat also leaves salts and oils that may prevent your sensors from accurately recording data.

Try wearing your Fitbit in a different position

Try wearing your Fitbit on your non-dominant hand and the inside of your wrist rather than the outside.

place fitbit on inside of wrist and arm
If you’re not getting good readings from your Fitbit, try placing it on the inside of your wrist and arm!

Some people report that wearing their Fitbit above the wrist (at least an inch above the wrist bone–about two fingers above the wristbone) solved their sleep tracking problem.

Another strategy is to wear the watch on the inside of your wrist or arm. This is especially useful if you have tattoos or have a lot of arm hair (you could also shave your hair but wearing it on the inside is a lot easier!)

Regardless of your Fitbit position, always wear it in a snug (but not tight!) position while sleeping.

Wear your Fitbit on your wrist

Some Fitbit models, like the Inspire 2 and the original Inspire, allow you to wear your Fitbit in a clip. wear your fitbit on a clip

Unfortunately, the heart rate sensors automatically turn off when you wear your Fitbit in a clip and set your Inspire to on-clip mode.

That means your Fitbit in the clip-position can only record sleep in the three general categories of awake, restless, and asleep since it doesn’t record any heart rate data.

So for folks who wear their Fitbits in a clip or pendant when sleeping, try wearing it on your wrist and see if that makes a difference.

When you wear your Fitbit on your wrist and set it to wrist mode, it automatically detects when you sleep and records your sleep stages using your heart rate information.

Fitbit icons for quick settings on wrist and on clip
Check your Fitbit’s quick settings to verify if it’s set to on wrist or clip.

That’s why you must check that your Fitbit is set to on-wrist and not on-clip mode in the Fitbit Settings app.

To change your Fitbit Inspire to the on-wrist setting

  1. Press and hold the button for about 2 seconds on the Fitbit Inspire Series to open your Fitbit’s Quick Settings. 
  2. Scroll down past the settings for battery level, screen wake, notifications, and tap on-clip to change it to on-wrist. on wrist setting for Fitbit Inspire 2
  3. Press the button again to return to the clock face.

Please note that only the Fitbit Inspire Series support on-clip. However, the Fitbit Inspire HR does not offer this setting–it is always in on-wrist mode.

Love wearing your Fitbit in a clip?

If you prefer to wear your Fitbit in a clip during the day, make sure you place it on your wrist and change its setting to on-wrist to capture sleep data when preparing for bedtime.

If you don’t care about your sleep stage information, you can continue to wear your Fitbit on a clip throughout the day and night.

Just remember that your sleep information will only include time spent asleep, awake, and restless.

Check the Fitbit battery levelFitbit app notification that battery is low

Is the Fitbit battery critically low?

If your battery is critically low, your wearable may have switched off sleep tracking during the night to preserve its battery.

Ensure you charge your Fitbit sufficiently before you go to bed. 

If time is short, charge your Fitbit for 20-30 minutes before you go to sleep–this should provide enough battery to last through the night.

Change sleep sensitivity settings

There is a sleep sensitivity setting in the Fitbit app. The default option is the normal setting.

The normal setting only counts significant movements, such as rolling over.

The sensitive setting results in your device recording nearly all movements as time spent restless or awake.

How to change your Fitbit’s sleep sensitivity settings

  1. Open the Fitbit app and tap the Today tab in fitbit app
  2. Tap your profile picture or icon, then scroll down to the Settings heading
    1. Find it just after the wording to ‘+ Set Up a Device, and Shop Fitbit.activity and wellness settings in Fitbit app
  3. Choose Activity & Wellness, usually the first one on that list.
  4. Select Sleep from the list of options. sleep setting in Fitbit app
  5. Scroll to the bottom and choose Sleep Sensitivity. fit app sleep sensitivity setting
  6. Choose Sensitive instead of Normal.
    1. If Sensitive is the current option, try Normal. Fitbit app sleep sensitivity from normal or sensitive

For older FitbitOS versions

  1. Open the Fitbit app and choose the Accounts tab.
    1. If you don’t see accounts as a tab, choose the Today tab, and tap your profile icon or picture.
  2. Tap Advanced Settings. fitbit app advanced settings
  3. Tap on Sleep Sensitivity and choose from the available options.

Don’t tell the Fitbit app you are going to bed

All wrist-based Fitbits automatically sense when you are sleeping when wearing your Fitbit to bed. So there is no need to tell the Fitbit app you are going to bed or starting sleep.

To get a detailed reading of the sleep stages, do not select Begin Sleep Now inside the Fitbit app when you go to bed. Begin Sleep Now option Fitbit app

Also, don’t tap on I’m Awake when you get up. I'm awake in Fitbit app

For whatever reason, when you tap these notices in the Fitbit app, your Fitbit does not reliably track your sleep stages. Why? We don’t know! 

However, taping these app features still tracks your sleep in time awake, restless, and asleep.

We recommend allowing your Fitbit to automatically track your sleep–that seems to be the best way to get all your sleep data, including sleep stages. 

Plus, you don’t have to do anything–so it’s one less thing to do before sleep.

Check heart rate settings

Your Fitbit combines heart rate and movement data to develop a more accurate picture of your sleep cycle.

And seeing sleep stage information depends on your Fitbit getting consistent heart rate information. Fitbit notification about not getting sleep stage details

When your Fitbit cannot access consistent heart readings, you get a sleep report that only shows the basic information–time asleep, awake, and restless.

Additionally, you won’t see sleep stage info when you sleep for less than 3 hours.

While Fitbit turns heart-rate tracking on by default, it’s good to check that you didn’t accidentally turn it off.

Also, occasionally the Auto setting does not work–so we suggest you set your heart rate using the ON position rather than auto.

There is no way to turn off heart-rate tracking on Fitbit Sense or Fitbit Versa 3, so you can skip this one. 

To turn on your Fitbit’s heart rate tracking

  • On your Fitbit, open the Settings app > Heart Rate, and if it’s off, tap to turn the setting On. If it’s already on, switch it off, wait a few seconds, and switch it back on. Not all models include this setting. turn on Fitbit tracker heart rate

For Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Charge 2, turn on heart-rate tracking in the Fitbit app

    1. Open the Fitbit app and tap the Today tab.
    2. Tap your profile icon or picture.
    3. Choose your Fitbit device from the list.
    4. Tap Heart Rate and tap to turn the setting to On. If it’s already set to on, switch it off, then sync your device. After syncing, switch it back on and sync again.heart rate turn on, off, or auto inside Fitbit app

Remove and re-add your Fitbit

To set up your Fitbit as a new device, go to the Account section at the top right corner of the Fitbit app and select the option “Set up a new device.”

Follow the on-screen instructions to add your Fitbit as a new device.

Restart your Fitbit 

A restart often solves these types of Fitbit problems. 

For most newer model Fitbits, go to Settings > Shutdown, Reboot, or Restart Device (or About > Shutdown) > Yes. Shutdown a Fitbit using Settings app

You can also manually restart your watch by pressing and holding the button(s) for 10 seconds until you see the Fitbit logo on your Fitbit’s screen, then release the button(s).

To manually restart trackers, place the Fitbit tracker on its charger and plug it in so it’s charging. Then, press the side button(s) or the button on the charging cable for a number of seconds or press a number of times in a row (it’s different for almost every model.) Wait for the Fitbit logo or a smile icon and your tracker to vibrate to indicate it restarted.

To restart a specific model, see our page. Need to restart or reset your Fitbit device? Learn the steps

For older Fitbit models, try these restart steps

  1. Connect your Fitbit to its charging cable and ensure it’s plugged in and placed correctly.
  2. Hold down the button for between five & ten seconds. You will usually see the Fitbit logo appear or the screen flashes. 
  3. Release the button or buttons.
  4. Disconnect the tracker from its charger and turn it back on if necessary.

Factory Reset factory reset Fitbit Sense and Versa 3

You can try a factory reset if the other options don’t fix your Fitbit sleep tracking issue.

This wipes all your stored data and returns your Fitbit to its factory settings.

Most models have different factory reset methods, so look at this article for the exact steps.

Unfortunately, most older Fitbits before 2016, like the Fitbit Flex, Surge, and Blaze, cannot be factory reset.

Want more information about your sleep quality, including snore information? Fitbit Premium Features

Try Fitbit Premium!

Fitbit offers additional insights into your sleep data, including restoration scores, snore and noise detection, a daily readiness score, a stress management report, and a more detailed analysis of your sleeping heart rate for Fitbit Premium subscription members.

And if you own a Charge 5+, Inspire 2+, Luxe, Sense series, Versa 2+, or a Google Pixel Watch, you also get a monthly detailed sleep profile report when you wear your Fitbit for at least 14 nights per month. Fitbit's Sleep Animal in Fitbit Premium

This sleep profile includes a breakdown of your sleep with 10 monthly metrics, and it also assigns you a sleep animal that represents your long-term sleep behavior trends.

Currently, the plan costs about USD 10 per month or USD 80 per year. Fitbit also offers a free trial for 6 months when you purchase a new device and a trial of 3 months for anyone that wants to give it a try before paying.

For sleep analysis, you also get a thorough breakdown of your sleep score and personalized recommendations.

Plus, premium members get data on how restorative their sleep is via a Restoration score. You also get a report on any snoring and the noise of your sleeping environment–all using the built-in microphone on your Fitbit! Fitbit premium view restoration tab for snore and noise

Plus, Fitbit Premium also offers guided programs you use with your Fitbit device to get better sleep each night.


I hope this article has helped you fix your Fitbit sleep tracking problem.

If you have more questions or anything to add, please let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section below!

If you liked this article, you can follow us on social media by using the social media buttons!

I have a first-class honors Physiotherapy degree and a second class honors Sports Science degree. I am also a certified Yoga teacher and Yoga therapist. Before completing my University education in the United Kingdom, I worked as a fitness instructor and athletics coach for many years. Since 2008 I have been practicing in the UK as a Chartered Physiotherapist, and traveling to European and World Cup tournaments with the Wales Masters field hockey team as their physiotherapist. I am passionate and actively involved in health and fitness and in the process of research and writing. I believe everyone should have access to the latest health and wellness research in simple, easy to understand language. In 2009 I published a research article ‘Is Yoga An Effective Treatment for Low Back Pain’ in the International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Currently, I am a freelance writer producing content relating to physiotherapy and health and wellness. I love anything animal! I have three rescued dogs and two parrots. I placed third lady in my city’s annual marathon (dressed as a bunny!) to raise funds for an animal welfare charity.


  1. My Fitbit sense is inconsistently detecting the time I fall asleep much later than when I fall asleep. My wake up time is accurate. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Hi Diane,

      Sorry to learn that your Fitbit Sense isn’t accurately tracking when you fall asleep. Have you adjusted your sleep sensitivity setting?

      Go to the fitbit app and choose your account icon or picture > Activity & Wellness (might also be called Advanced Settings if using an older app version) > Sleep > Sleep Sensitivity.

      Change the sensitivity to normal. If it’s already on that, change to sensitive. Then test for a few nights and see if your metrics are more accurate for when you fall asleep.

  2. This is happening to me frequently for the last few months on a Versa I have had since 2019 which used to be reliable.

    I have frequent periods of waking up sometimes for a few minutes, other times for longer periods before I go back to sleep.

    The watch used to consistently capture those as periods of being awake during the night.

    Last night it only shows I slept from 4:42 to 7:43 when I actually went to bed around midnight but woke up a few times.

    As I said this happens at least once a week and never used to. I have reset, updated, cleaned the terminals…..

    • Kate, did you ever get your Versa to track your sleep correctly?

      I am having the same problem you wrote about; only mine is almost every day.

      My Versa 3 starts recording about 2-3 hours after lights out and breathing exercises. Example: I KNOW I am asleep by 0215, but Fitbit says I went to sleep at 0438, and I KNOW I woke up at 0830, but Fitbit says I woke up at 0742. This has been going on for months.

      I have done every fix that Fitbit recommends, but no joy. And they keep trying to get me to subscribe to Premium. Why would I pay money for something that already doesn’t work?

      • Hi Dana,

        Oh, I’m sorry to hear that your Fitbit Versa 3 isn’t correctly tracking sleep. Have you tried factory resetting it and then pairing it again to the app?

  3. I had a charge 3 that quit giving me detailed sleep data after several months.

    Eventually the screen stopped being visible as well so after working with the company I purchased a charge 4.

    It did not give me detailed sleep scores or any health metrics.

    The company sent me a replacement and it still does not give me sleep scores ( I have received sleep score one time in 6 weeks).

    I have tried all the suggestions the company has given me. Are there some people that just won’t get the health metric readings and sleep scores?

    • Hi Susan,

      I am very sorry to learn that your Charge 4 isn’t giving you sleep tracking details! We haven’t heard from others with a similar problem, so I can’t answer your question about some people just not getting health and sleep metrics, no matter what they do.

      Have you tried wearing on the inside (instead of the outside) of your arm? That means your Fitbit Charge so the screen and the back sensors contact skin that is thinner and usually more supple since it gets a lot less sun and environmental exposure.

      I often wear my Fitbit (Versa 3 or Inspire HR) on the inside of my arm when sleeping to get better readings and it works!

      I’m sure you’ve done these steps, but just in case:

      1) Update the Fitbit app
      2) Update your Fitbit Charge firmware
      3) Reboot your Fitbit Charge
      4) Reset your Fitbit Charge and clear all its current user data
      5) Delete the Fitbit app from your device and reinstall it

      Also, out of curiosity are you connecting to an Android or Apple device?

      Keep us posted,


  4. Have worn it on the inside of my arm with no success.

    Have had my husband wear it with no scores noted.

    Have done all the updates whenever I’m notified of them. Done numerous reboots etc. as instructed by Fitbit when I have been troubleshooting with them.

    I am connected to an Apple phone.

    • Hi Susan,

      You have tried everything it seems. I am so sorry that none of these tips worked for you. I’ll look into the issue more and if I discover anything new, I’ll let you know.


  5. My versa gives an accurate sleep analysis for myself but when I loan it to my husband to try before buying it only shows basic info.

    He has had a cardiac event and has arrhythmia.

    Could this be the issue and would the Sense also be inaccurate even though it mentions ECG tracking for afib?

    • Hi Melissa,

      It’s possible that his pre-existing conditions are impacting sleep stage results. Since it works for you, we suggest your husband wear it a little high up his arm to get a better heart rate reading (required for sleep staging) and perhaps a bit more snug (but it should not be uncomfortable.)

      Then, have your husband wear it for a few nights and see if you get any stage information.

  6. I have a Charge 5 and having same problems with health metrics and sleep tracking.

    Fitbit Customer support has had me go through many steps (reboot, sensitivity setting, reload as a new device) with no success.

    I am going to try the simple step that you suggest of not telling it I’m asleep/awake. Surprised they don’t suggest such a simple thing.

  7. Having a Flex 2 tracker worked well for over 4 years. Last month problems with recharging. Seems as though the tracker packed in.

    Used my wife’s USB charger after my initial charger did not recharge after 3 years No lights. Tried alternative followed restart procedure. Still, no joy was a great piece of equipment. New models seem too complicated.

  8. Fitbit does NOT record REM sleep accurately, at least mine does not.

    How do I know this?

    Simply, when I wake up from dreams I check the time, record it, and go back to sleep.

    In the morning, when I check the times I know for certain I was dreaming, there is more often than not ZERO REM activity.

    Fitbit seems to mistake REM for awake or light sleep. Awake times? Deep sleep? Time in and out of bed? All fairly accurate. But not REM.

  9. I have an Inspire 2 and it tracks my sleep pretty well. But I have to get up during the night to treat my sore joints. It seems to have a maximum time it ‘allows’ me to be awake but then still continues monitoring my sleep phases when I go back to bed rather than restarting and giving me a new sleep session with basic information. I can’t work out if it’s 45 minutes or an hour. Please advise me

    • Hi Helen,

      Fitbit doesn’t specify the time it allows you to be awake between sleeping periods. One thing you might try is changing your sleep sensitivity setting to Normal in the Fitbit app: Account > Settings> Activity & Wellness > Sleep Sensitivity > Normal. Also, try adding a sleep schedule for Bedtime and Wake up time and see if that helps.

  10. Hi- I have an Inspire 2 that I wear all the time. I just noticed that the total sleep time noted each day does not add up to the three sleep stage numbers listed.

    Today it said I slept for 4 hours. But when I add up the REM, light, and Deep stages as they show, it’s 4 hrs 24 min.

    I looked back at other days, and the total never adds up to the three stages. Isn’t it supposed to?

  11. Thank you so much! I didn’t know about the on-clip setting. I had just gotten a new phone, so I was convinced the two were connected.


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