Sleeptracker Watch

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It’s the sound that most of us dread to hear. That bleep bleeep bleeeeeep that jars us out of our peaceful dreaming slumber into the stark reality that is school, our job, etc. It’s a resolute individual who can bound out of bed to face the new day without cursing the alarm and pressing the snooze button. I used to be a person that was able to do that. The alarm would go off at 5:30am, and I would immediately throw back the covers, get out of bed and head to the shower. That was at least 10yrs. ago, before I started The Gadgeteer, back when late nights were not the norm… These days, the alarm goes off at 5:00am and I’m lucky if I can drag my groggy body out of the bed by 6:15am so that I can get to work by 7:00am. Monday through Friday, day in, day out. It’s torture. I live for the Saturday and Sunday mornings when I can sleep until I’m ready to get up, not when the alarm is ready for me to get up.


When the folks at Innovative Sleep Solutions LLC. asked if I was interested in reviewing their Sleeptracker watch, I was intrigued. I’m up for anything that helps ease the pain of getting up in the morning, so I agreed.

So what does the Sleeptracker do for you that a regular watch with an alarm can’t do? This watch monitors your sleep cycle and can detect when you’re almost awake and then wake you at the most opportune time. Doing so will allow you to wake up when you’re already almost awake, so that you won’t feel groggy.

The following is an exerpt about sleep cycles from the FAQ on the Sleeptracker website:

When you sleep,your body goes through a series of sleep cycles. The average adult experiences 4-5 full sleep cycles over an 8-hour period. Each cycle lasts about 90-110 minutes and comprises five different stages, as illustrated by this chart.

No two people have the same sleep cycles, and nobody has the same cycle twice. Many factors can influence sleep cycles,including diet,exercise,medications,drugs or alcohol,stress,sleep disorders,and sleep deprivation. Age and gender can play a role, too:women tend to sleep more soundly than men, and as we age,we sleep more restlessly.

A typical sleep cycle has five stages and takes 90-110 minutes. During Stage 1 of your sleep cycle, you sleep lightly. At Stage 2, your sleep gets progressively deeper. At Stages 3 and 4, also known as “Delta sleep,” you sleep most heavily; this is when your body rebuilds itself.

Stage 5 of sleep, also known as REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, is marked by extensive physiological changes, such as accelerated respiration, increased brain activity, rapid eye movement, and muscle relaxation. People dream during REM sleep.

In the first third of the night, Delta sleep stages last longer than REM stages. As the night progresses, Delta sleep diminishes in length. By the last third of the night, Delta sleep usually ceases, while REM stages lengthen.

Using a built in accelerometer, the watch knows when you’re in an almost awake state by monitoring for brief periods of movement lasting typically 30 seconds or less. It is smart enough to know when you’re sleeping as opposed to getting up to get a drink of water or use the bathroom.


Looking at the watch, it doesn’t seem much different than an inexpensive watch that you might purchase at Walmart. It is a large-ish black plastic digital watch with 4 buttons and a flexible rubber strap.

On the right side of the watch face is the large oval mode button. Pressing this button will cycle through the different watch modes: Time, Alarm, Window, To Bed and Sleep Data. On the face of the watch is the Set button. Pressing and holding this button for a few seconds will allow you to change settings in the current mode. The two buttons on the left side of the watch allow you to move up and down through settings and the recorded sleep data. The top button on the left also doubles as the backlight button.


Changing the settings for the different modes is easy and didn’t require any explanation or user guide reading for myself. You set the alarm time as the time that you must get up by. Then the Window time can be set to 0, 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Setting it to 0 just means that the alarm will go off exactly at the set alarm time; totally defeating the purpose of the watch. Setting the Window time to 10, 20 or 30 means that the alarm may go off up to 10, 20 or 30 minutes BEFORE the set alarm time. The time the alarm fires is dependant on when the Sleeptracker thinks that you’re at an almost awake time.

The To Bed time is set to 30 minutes after you think you’ll be asleep. This is the time where the watch will start monitoring for almost awake times while you are alseep.


The Sleeptracker will keep track of all the almost awake times during the night and record them as data1, 2, 3, etc. It will then calculate your average time between almost awake times and store that as data A. This data is only stored for the previous night’s sleep cycle. The next night is overwritten. A nice feature would be the ability to offload this data via a mini USB cable or Infrared to your computer or PDA for future analysis. As is, you’ll need to write it down if you want to save it.

I’ve been using the Sleeptracker every night for the past 15 nights. Wearing a watch to bed felt a little uncomfortable in the beginning, and only just in the past couple of nights have I gotten used it that fact. It’s actually been kind of nice to have the watch on my wrist as I can easily find out the time during the night by pressing the backlight button. I wear glasses and can’t even see the clock next to my bed during the night…

During this review period, I have to say that the watch hasn’t really helped me to wake up easier at all. Out of the 15 days, there have only been 2-3 days when the alarm didn’t go off at the exact alarm time that I had set. And on the days where it went off at time inside the Window, I didn’t feel any more awake than on any other morning. I would actually fall right back asleep after the alarm fired and then end up crawling out of bed at my regular 6am time just as tired as ever.

As an example, here is the data from the last 2 nights:

Night 1

Went to bed @ 11:30pm
To bed set time 12:15am
Alarm set time 7:30am
Data 1 12:35am
Data 2 1:28am
Data 3 3:12am
Data 4 4:37am
Data 5 5:11am
Data 6 6:29am
Data 7 7:07am
Data A 58 minutes
Alarm time: 7:07am

Night 2

Went to bed @ 9:30pm
To bed set time 10:15am
Alarm set time 5:00am
Data 1 11:00pm
Data 2 11:12pm
Data 3 12:03am
Data 4 1:34am
Data 5 2:38am
Data 6 2:55am
Data 7 3:17am
Data 8 3:35am
Data 9 4:05am
Data10 4:36am
Data A 37 minutes
Alarm time: 5:00am

I’m not going to say that this watch doesn’t work, I’m going to say that I don’t think it works for me. Everyone is different, and everyone’s sleeping patterns are different. This could also be the fact that I’m somewhat sleep deprived. I tend to stay up until 11-11:30pm most week nights and then the alarm goes off 5am the next morning. No 8hrs of sleep for me…

There are a couple of things that might make this watch better. One would be the ability to totally customize the Wake Up Window time. For me 30mins might not be a long enough period. Then there’s the alarm itself; it’s not nearly loud enough in my opinion, and only beeps for 30 seconds. The best solution would be a vibrating alarm, or maybe even an alarm that increases in volume.

Because I’m not willing to totally dismiss this product (I’ve read that others are finding it useful…), I’m going to hold off on my final verdict and give the Sleeptracker another full week and then report back on my experiences. After that, I’m going to send it to a friend of mine who has probably the worst sleeping patterns of anyone I know, and let him give it a try for a month and see what his findings are.

In the mean time, I’d like to hear from other people out there that have had good or bad experiences with this product. Go to the forum linked in this review and let us know what you think.


Product Information

Manufacturer:Innovative Sleep Solutions LLC.
  • Easy to set
  • Displays previous night's sleep data
  • Alarm may not be loud enough to wake you
  • May not work for everyone

18 thoughts on “Sleeptracker Watch”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Julie,

    Very informative and detailed review, as always. I wonder if you’re not the best candidate for this tool. It seems to me that it would work best for someone that tends to oversleep because they don’t get up early enough. In your case, you have the opposite problem – you probably don’t usually get enough sleep, so the watch would be waiting for you to be ready to awaken, and of course you never reach that state on 6 hours of sleep! You might try it again on the weekends, when you have more time to sleep and can let the watch do its thing. Any chance of getting feedback from the manufacturer?

    Great job, as always.

  3. DanReb:

    The manufacturer did write me back this morning after seeing the posted review. She agreed that the watch will not work for everyone, but that it will work for most people. I tried it again last night (and will continue using it until the end of the week) and the same thing happened, it went off right at 5am which was the set alarm time. I’ve been wearing it on the weekends too and it just doesn’t seem to help me feel more awake. I think I just need to start getting to bed at a decent time 😉

  4. Being desperate to feel better in the morning, I’m very interested in this product working well. I really hope that you change your stance and that it improves your life enough to give me $20, but I also hope that if it doesn’t work for you it will work for me.

  5. Hi Julie. I’m a longtime reader and love your reviews… I have been using the SleepTracker watch almost from the time it was released. Although I’ve had some technical problems that were promptly worked out with the manufacturer (they’ve redesigned the watch since then), I have to admit that, more times than not, the watch does work. The problem you’re encountering (which I sometimes do too) is that when you are sleep deprived, the space between “near awake events” is more than the 20-30 minutes window. Per the User Guide, the time between events will get smaller as you get more sleep. Also, if you are in a near awake state, the alarm is plenty loud enough because it doesn’t take much to wake you.

    As you’ve mentioned, the watch doesn’t work for everyone… it depends on your sleep patterns. It’s also not an alternative to getting enough sleep. But when it works, it does work well (and as advertised).

    – Brian

    PS – Thanks to you and Judie for introducing me to all the great gadgets I’ve spent my money on over the years! 😉

  6. skidiver:

    Thank you for posting your experiences. So you really do feel awake when the alarm goes off? Awake enough that you can hop right out of bed without hitting the snooze? I’m going to try an experiment tonight and set the alarm for 5:30 or 5:45am. Since I already lay there until after 6am, I figure I should use that time to sleep undisturbed. We’ll see if it helps.

  7. Julie… when I get enough sleep and the alarm goes off during the window… yes, I feel awake enough to just jump out of bed. Unfortunately, I’m a night owl and end up with a schedule just as screwy as yours… I usually don’t go to bed until 1-2am and I’m up around 6:30. I catch up on the weekends, but I don’t wear the watch on Fri and Sat nights. When I’m so exhausted that I go to sleep at a “normal” hour, the watch comes in handy though.

    I agree with your statement in the review… I think if the window was a little more customizable (and longer), it would probably work for more people. The problem is that it’s a catch-22. Do you really want the watch to wake you up 45-60 minutes before you need to be up? Then there’d be (valid) complaints that it wakes you (the collective you, that is 🙂 ) too early.

    It’s possible that your sleeping patterns may not be compatible with the watch’s functionality. For what it’s worth though, my experiences have been (within reason) positive.

    – Brian :bored:

  8. Darn…as I was reading this review…I was thinking that this might be the next gadget to help improve my sleep or something….

    And considering that I bought a Sleep Number 5000 bed last year to this cause…I guess the price would be reasonable, if I knew it would work. Give that I’m in a job transition.

    Of course, that fact might be a contributing factor to things.

    But, I otherwise…my nights sound kind of similar….I’m usually up to just past midnight every night….during the week, my alarm is set for 6:15am…and lately it’ll be an hour before I finally drag myself out of bed. But, then on weekends, I turn the alarm off and get up when I’m done.

    Last Sunday I slept past noon (fortunately because of fall back, I can say at least I got up before noon) :p

    Though I don’t know if I could handle having a watch on my wrist at night…though it would help that wonder what time it is when I get up during the night….being basically blind without my glasses.

    Because of nerve problems in my hands/arms, I’ve been told that I should wear a brace to bed. I’ve tried and tried, but I can’t get used to having it….

    The Dreamer :bored:

  9. Why do you people snooze for an hour?? Obviously, you are getting to work ok. Just set your alarms for an hour later. 🙂

  10. Well, the problem with setting it an hour later…is that it runs the risk of having even less time in the morning before work. Especially if I still snooze for an hour. :rolleyes:

    Plus originally, there were a couple times each week where I had to be in at a certain time….the bread or bagel meeting (department status meeting) or the donut meeting (general office meeting). And, the alarm is based on getting in to the office in time for that.

    At one time, it was general habit to shoot for the same time for the other days.

    Though basically working in a flex environment, it wasn’t critical. Plus being the night owl type….I tended to stay in late, even on days that I was in early….

    And, then on July 21st….the company reorganized….so they had an extra department meeting….though later at 10am….where 10 minutes later the department ceased to exist.

    The next day the person that usually buys the donuts left the company….the office has been shrinking physically as well. So less and less of those meetings. Plus we see less and less of the company execs, so the office meetings had been getting less regular for some time. Though we used to still get donuts whether there was a meeting or not.

    Plus the worry is probably contributing to my messed up sleep cycle….

    Though part of the reason why so early….is to allow time to check my email in the morning before going to work. Actually, that’s pretty much the main reason… Getting up later just means I pay less attention to my email…but it still happens. Especially now as I have to pay more attention to the job search related ones.

    Though emails from the-gadgeteer are among the ones that get less attention when I’m rushed. :unsure:

    The Dreamer.

  11. I think I’ll give up on the watch… Last night I purposefully went to bed early (9:30pm), and set the alarm for 5:45am. That should have given me almost a full 8hrs of sleep. The alarm on the watch went off at 5:45. ARGH.

  12. Ya know, Julie. I just had another thought. If you are a really sound sleeper (I don’t mean “dead to the world” sound, like me… I mean motionless, as opposed to restless), the watch may not work. The whole thing is based on your body moving around at the “near awake” points. If you don’t move around too much… it’s very possible that the watch can’t measure your sleep cycles.

    Oh well… sorry to hear it hasn’t worked out for you. Can’t say you haven’t given it a fair chance though!

  13. Thank you for your review. I had exactly the same experiences. The sleeptracker watch was able to wake me up – when I’m lucky enough – one day a week. As I analyzed the data, it seems also for me is the 30 minutes window too small.

  14. I would like to promote the SleepTracker on my site. Somehow I get no response to my emails to their support. Anyone tried (and succeeded) contacting them?


  15. I have been using Sleeptracker Pro for long time, and I’ve found that there are issues that should be considered:
    – everybody has unique body movements patterns and strength – sometimes movement detection doesn’t work well
    – you need a proper length healthy sleep – then your sleep patterns are regular and there is a big chance that “smart waking” will work (if you are constantly sleep deprived- that gadget won’t help you).
    Find more at:

  16. The watch didn’t work because you didn’t follow the instructions. You need to have a regular sleep pattern so you’re REM periods will be consistant in their timing. You can’t say when REM periods typically occur based on 1 or even 2 nights worth of data.
    I’m repeating in part what some of the other commenters have said by saying that it’s no good for a sleep schedule which is irregular, but it seems to be the underlying issue with many of the complaints.

  17. I agree with the comment that if you are a sound/still sleeper, the watch won’t work. I also think that getting 8 hours of sleep one night doesn’t put you back in the “had enough sleep” category. We carry sleep deficits. I’ve heard about a sleep study where they took sleep deprived college students and made them stay in bed in a pitch black, silent, cool room for 12 hours per day. They didn’t have to sleep, but they had to lay there. Most of them slept 12 hours per day for about 30 days, and then they tapered off to 8 hours a day. So, sleep deficit is apparently pretty hard to catch up with, for working people. I do know ill people who do work full time and sleep 12 hours, though, from 7pm to 7am.

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