I was given a Fitbit for father’s day; it is a little pocket spy that counts every step and stair, and through the night monitors movement. The sleep monitoring is the part that interested me most, a chance to prove whether the perception of my restless tossing and turning is real, and when (if at all) it happens.
It happens. Periodically through the night and then in the small hours: three in the morning, a little flurry of movement, enough to break the depths of slumber, sometimes enough to wake me up entirely. I know. I don’t know what to do with the knowledge.
The gadget has changed my night time rituals. I am now a slave to the data. The day’s record of steps, stairs, calories, active minutes are squeezed to the last moment, pored over in the study.
At times I have fallen asleep over the stats, only to stumble down the stairs and into bed, fumbling with the wrist strap and hoping I have hit the sleep button.
That’s when the drowsiness flees. A startled cat that had been still and now is gone in three bounds. I lure it back with books and solitaire, realise when the tablet falls from nerveless fingers it is here, purring and ready. I rescue my spectacles, check the alarm again, knowing I will wake half an hour before it rings, and try to hold on to the furry somnolence.
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