Lifestyle Modification Using a Wearable Biometric Ring and Guided Feedback Improve Sleep and Exercise Behaviors: A 12-Month Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study

Front Physiol. 2021 Nov 25:12:777874. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.777874. eCollection 2021.


Purpose: Wearable biometric monitoring devices (WBMD) show promise as a cutting edge means to improve health and prevent disease through increasing accountability. By regularly providing real-time quantitative data regarding activity, sleep quality, and recovery, users may become more aware of the impact that their lifestyle has on their health. The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of a biometric tracking ring on improving sleep quality and increasing physical fitness over a one-year period. Methods: Fifty-six participants received a biometric tracking ring and were placed in one of two groups. One group received a 3-month interactive behavioral modification intervention (INT) that was delivered virtually via a smartphone app with guided text message feedback (GTF). The other received a 3-month non-directive wellness education control (CON). After three months, the INT group was divided into a long-term feedback group (LT-GTF) that continued to receive GTF for another nine months or short-term feedback group (ST-GTF) that stopped receiving GTF. Weight, body composition, and VO2max were assessed at baseline, 3months, and 12months for all participants and additionally at 6 and 9months for the ST-GTF and LT-GTF groups. To establish baseline measurements, sleep and physical activity data were collected daily over a 30-day period. Daily measurements were also conducted throughout the 12-month duration of the study. Results: Over the first 3months, the INT group had significant (p<0.001) improvements in sleep onset latency, daily step count, % time jogging, VO2max, body fat percentage, and heart rate variability (rMSSD HRV) compared to the CON group. Over the next 9months, the LT-GTF group continued to improve significantly (p<0.001) in sleep onset latency, daily step count, % time jogging, VO2max, and rMSSD HRV. The ST-GTF group neither improved nor regressed over the latter 9months except for a small increase in sleep latency. Conclusion: Using a WBMD concomitantly with personalized education, encouragement, and feedback, elicits greater change than using a WBMD alone. Additionally, the improvements achieved from a short duration of personalized coaching are largely maintained with the continued use of a WBMD.

Keywords: VO2max; biometric ring; fitness; heart rate variability; recovery; sleep onset latency; step count; wearable.