SleepTracker Elite is the wear-at-night wristwatch that can monitor your sleep movements and help you ascertain how well or poorly you’re sleeping at night. Time Magazine calls it the Invention of the Year. I call it an interesting way to figure out why I’m such a grouch in the morning. Simply put, it’s a wrist watch that monitors your sleep patterns and sleep movements and then analyzes those patterns in a software program that shows you your progress. I was selected to give one a try when SleepTracker offered a review unit to The Gadgeteer.What It Does:
When you sleep, your body goes through various sleep cycles during the night with the average human typically going through four or five. SleepTracker’s theory is that if you are woken up during a “light stage” of sleep as opposed to another, deeper stage of sleep, you will wake up more refreshed and feel better. Instead of waking up when your alarm clocks says you should wake up, the SleepTracker, when worn as a wristwatch at night, will wake you up when you are in a lighter stage of sleep. You can set the time you go to bed, you set the time you want to wake up and set the time to tell the watch when the lightest sleep stage is in accordance to your alarm time to then go off and wake you up. This watch has two alarms, a beep and a vibrate and they can be used together. The beeping alarm woke me up. The vibrate did not.
SleepTracker also monitors the number of sleep interruptions you experience each night, even if you are unaware of those interruptions. Those interruptions could be from anything. If you sleep with your dog or your cat (or both in my case), any movement from the animal will cause you to move from one stage of sleep to another and will register as a sleep interruption. For instance, the first night I used Sleeptracker, I had 21 (!) instances of sleep interruption. Using an accelerometer, SleepTracker monitors and tracks the slightest physical signs from your body, and tracks that progress to determine your deepest sleep moments and your lightest. Your lightest moments are when you really want to wake up because you’ll wake up feeling better and easier.
Using the data that the watch collects, you download it to the SleepTracker software on your computer, and it analyzes your night’s sleep and then gives you the number of interruptions, how long they lasted, as well as your total sleep time and a score that places your sleep progress.
Setting the watch for your sleep times, alarm times and the actual time and date is extremely easy. And if you happen to go past your “To Bed” time, it’s simple to change it. Trust me, I’m clumsy in the “Set the Watch” department and I can set SleepTracker.
Until SleepTracker, I thought I was doing OK in the sleep department. My favorite hobby is sleeping with weekend daytime naps something I work hard at. I always seem to wake up more refreshed and less grumpy from a nap than overnight sleep. I have three animals and a husband with sleep apnea, so I was pretty interested in seeing what kind of sleep I was getting with the SleepTracker.
My first SleepTracker score was 95, which is pretty awesome. But for the next two days, it went steadily downward. I am prone to migraines so I took Advil PM the next night thinking….ok, it will take care of my headache and I’ll be down for the count all night. I was down for the count, but the next morning I woke up groggy and grumpy. The upshot was that I had no headache, but my SleepTracker data on Day 3 read that I’d gone from a 95 to an 82. Being unconscious doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the sleep you need. In some cases, it just means you’re unconscious.
The data also records your uninterrupted sleep moments, and you can go back and view the data to determine when those moments occurred. Some I remembered, such as when the dog decided to jump off the bed and go bark at something unseen in the dark… most likely dust. Or when my cat jumped on me for reasons I still have yet to determine. (My cat likes to sleep ON me. Not near me, ON me. Usually on my hip as I’m a side sleeper and makes a nice comfy nest out of the blankets in the curve of my hip. Like I’m a log in the woods. Or a piece of driftwood. Or a living room chair. Only warmer.)
I used to be a “Sleep With the Televison On” kind of person. I like something playing in the background when I’m working, and even when napping during the day. Napping during football (my husband stays awake for this) in the autumn and lacrosse during the spring has never been an issue, but television at night has become a problem, and it’s showing in the SleepTracker data as well which I found interesting.
My husband, who uses a C-PAP at night, does not experience the things I do at night. He hears basically nothing because of the machine, and the animals don’t go near him on the bed. They’ve learned the painful consequences. It’s me they bug because they know I’m a great big pushover. Our youngest cat starts annoying me around 5:00 am because that’s when she wants to be fed. She should know she has to wait until 7 am because that’s when I feed both cats and our dog. She knows this but that doesn’t stop her from her shenanigans until I get so fed up, I get up and feed them all just to shut them up and let me sleep. Surprisingly, it’s all showing up in the SleepTracker data.
Our Pembroke Welsh Corgi loves to sleep snuggled between my husband and me, but anyone who knows anything about Corgis knows they’re heavy shedders because they have a thick undercoat. So while Gipper likes the whole “Snuggle with my Humans” thing, he gets overheated and starts this annoying raspy panting…usually in my ear and usually when I’m just drifting off to sleep. Is it in the SleepTracker data? Oh yeah.
For further testing, I let my husband wear the device. Day 1 he got a 100 score. That’s a perfect score. That means he’s getting the sleep he needs to get.
As for comfort, I’m the wrong person to ask. I didn’t like wearing SleepTracker. I found it to be bulky, I didn’t like the plastic against my skin, I knocked it against things (not that it hurt it, it’s even waterproof!) and ended up latching it to my belt loop which I can’t do at night or (of course) it will not record data. But I am not a watch wearer. I don’t wear wrist watches of any kind. I haven’t worn one in years. Even as a teen, I never wore a watch, I’ve always worn a antique pendant watch pinned to my blouse or something. I also wear very little jewelry on my wrist or hands save for my wedding ring so again, the comfort of SleepTracker is probably more of a “me” thing. People who wear watches probably won’t have a problem with it.
Turning off the alarm when it went off in the morning proved problematic at least for me. I kept pressing every button but the one that shut it off. Again, I think that is a “me” thing. I’m not used to being woken by a watch on my wrist with an alarm going off. The watch does feature a very nice glow light for reading it in the dark.
I Sleep Fine, Why Get One?
For beginners, it’s a cool watch. It’s got an alarm and keeps time, date and alarm info. Second, we don’t always sleep as well as we should or could. We have all had instances in our lives when getting a good night’s sleep was imperative, and SleepTracker will help you wake up during your best cycle so you can be at your best. For travelers, it’s even better. I’ve got three co-workers who travel to Europe frequently and are interested in what it can do.
The price isn’t bad either.
And Another Thing:
SleepTracker’s Customer Service rocks. By and large, I hate reporting glitches to a product’s Customer Service department because they pretty much don’t care. Not so here. When I had questions and issues with the product, I got an weekend email from Lee Loree, the owner of SleepTracker! This is a company that believes in their product, believes in their customers, and if their customers are going to pay for their product, they’re going to make sure everyone gets what they need. I can dig it. It’s an open door policy at SleepTracker and these days, they’re the exception to the rule when they should be the rule.