The SLEEPTRACKER series of watches monitor your sleeping patterns through the night so that they may wake you during one of your natural, "almost awake moments" in your sleep cycle.
Some of our readers may remember that a few years ago intrepid sleeper, Martin Regtien reviewed the original SLEEPTRACKER.
With the launch of the new SLEEPTRACKER Pro however, the baton has been passed on to me - and quite rightly so: Sleeping is what I do best.
Read on for the full review..
The SLEEPTRACKER Pro package contains a standard size CDROM, an odd looking USB cable, a small printed manual and of course, the SLEEPTRACKER Pro watch itself.
Upon taking the watch out of its packaging, it is immediately apparent that this thing was meant to be worn. And I don't mean to bed. Its black and gunmetal is neatly complemented by a striking orange that gives the SLEEPTRACKER Pro a trendy diver's watch feel.
I haven't worn a watch since the dawn of the mobile phone, so it is no surprise that the SLEEPTRACKER Pro felt a little alien on my wrist. As far as watches go however, it wasn’t half bad.
Once on my wrist I quickly began fiddling with the buttons and I skimmed through the simple menu system by pressing the MODE button. Oddly, I noticed two of the four buttons (two on each side) were marked, MODE. From what I can tell, only the right hand side button is an actual MODE button. The other is an auxiliary button used during setup - Loosely referred to as the DOWN button in the manual.
As a watch, the screen displays the day, date and time (including seconds) and is easy to read. The SLEEPTRACKER Pro also features a GLO button which adequately lights up the screen when in darkness.
Apart from the new look, the new Pro model improves upon the original by increasing the sleep window (more on this later) to up to 90 minutes as well as increasing the sleep data collection from 8 hours to 12. The SLEEPTRACKER Pro also features a vibrating alarm and is able to transfer your sleeping data to your PC for review and archiving of sleeping patterns.
HOW IT WORKS
From the Innovative Sleep Solutions website: “SLEEPTRACKER continuously monitors signals from your body that indicate whether you are asleep or awake. Because you wear SLEEPTRACKER on your wrist like a watch, its internal sensors can detect even the most subtle physical signals from your body. SLEEPTRACKER finds your best waking moments, so that waking up has never been easier.”
These waking moments occur numerous times a night and Innovative Sleeping Solutions' claims that being woken during such a period results in waking refreshed - as opposed to the regular groggy, ..just five more minutes I swear.. sensation.
For a more detailed discussion of sleep cycles and how these relate to your almost-awake moments, you may wish to take a look at Sleeping Solution’s How Does SLEEPTRACKER work, webpage.
MENUS AND SETUP
With the manual on hand, setting up the SLEEPTRACKER Pro was a cinch. While I normally don't read manuals, the extra settings and data logs displayed on this watch suggested I attempt a one-time reading. This turned out to be fairly painless and now that I know what the terms; Window, To Bed and Data 1 mean, I doubt I will ever need to look at the manual again.
Here’s a quick run through:
Alarm: Setting the Alarm is as simple as any regular watch - just press and hold the SET button and cycle through the times till you hit the one you want. The SLEEPTRACKER Pro's alarm can alert you one of three ways: Regular alarm tone, vibrate or both simultaneously. This vibrate feature is a new feature exclusive to the Pro model.
Window: While changing this setting is essentially the same as the alarm, what it does is more important. The Window setting tells the SLEEPTRACKER Pro how long before the actual alarm the SLEEPTRACKER Pro is allowed to wake you. For example, if you set the alarm for 7AM and the Window is 30 minutes, then any almost-awake moments in this window will trigger the alarm, ie: between 6:30AM and 7AM. It is worth noting that if no almost-awake moments occur during this window, then the SLEEPTRACKER Pro will wake you at the set alarm time anyway so you won’t be late.
To Bed: This sets the time you anticipate you will be asleep by. This helps the SLEEPTRACKER Pro from erroneously monitoring your wakeful moments and saves battery charge.
Data 1/2/3..A: This is a text representation of the previous night’s sleep data. This section doesn't need setting but displays the information in text form. Data 1/2/3/etc. display the times of your almost-awake moments, while DATA A is the average time between almost-awake states. According to Innovative Sleep Solutions, this can be used as an indicator of how deeply you have slept: The longer the interval, the better you have slept. This menu item is also used to transfer data to the SLEEPTRACKER Pro PC Software.
The afternoon the SLEEPTRACKER arrived, I set it to wake me up at 7AM the following morning via the vibration feature. I set the window to 30 minutes and just as a precaution, I also set my clock/radio to go off five minutes after the SLEEPTRACKER's vibration.
First Night: I woke up to the blaring radio I have grown to hate. From what I can tell, it seems the vibration function didn't manage to wake me.
When I got to work I booted up the SLEEPTRACKER Pro software and downloaded my night's sleeping patterns. I'm not sure how useful this information is but believe me when I say it is cool. From the data, it appears that my periods of wakefulness last night averaged out to approximately 45 minutes. Tomorrow I will try setting the window to 50 minutes and set the SLEEPTRACKER Pro to both vibrate and have its alarm go off.
It is also worth noting that since there were no almost-awake moments in the window, the SLEEPTRACKER Pro vibrated the alarm at the actual time of the alarm (7AM).
Second Night: This morning I woke up to the SLEEPTRACKER Pro's alarm at 6:45 and also became aware of the watch's gentle vibration. While I can't be sure if this is an effect of the almost-awake period I was in, I felt as if I was already awake and just happened to hear the alarm, rather than wake to it.
While I wouldn't say I was completely refreshed, it was light years better than the jolt my clock/radio gave me the day before. The SLEEPTRACKER Pro's data log also shows that it woke me during an almost-awake moment. A strange side effect of this review is that I'm genuinely looking forward to waking up tomorrow!
Third Night: The SLEEPTRACKER Pro again woke me during an almost-awake moment this morning but due to a lack of sleep overall, I'd rate its effect as negligible. I had a very fitful sleep last night mainly due to the very hot weather which was apparent by the resulting data log. I’m hoping for a better night’s sleep tonight.
Fourth Night: Last night I set the SLEEPTRACKER Pro for a later To Bed time and an 8 o'clock wakeup. At 7:15 during one of my almost-awake moments, I was gently awoken by the vibration followed by the alarm. I felt quite good and indeed somewhat refreshed. Being a Sunday tomorrow, I will again set the SLEEPTRACKER Pro to wake me via vibration only, to see if it alone can rouse me.
Fifth Night: According to the data log, the SLEEPTRACKER Pro attempted to wake me at 8:17AM (alarm was set for 9AM) but I slept through it. I also slept through the 9AM vibration. It appears that I personally require the alarm to sound and not just vibrate if I am to rouse from my slumber.
This morning I had a problem connecting the SLEEPTRACKER Pro to my computer and try as I might, I couldn't get the SLEEPTRACKER Pro software to recognise the connection. After a number of attempts and some reading of the manual and online documentation, I emailed support.
This gave me an opportunity to input the data manually which was painless once I worked out how the data should be formatted. Looking up a previous night’s data did the trick - There was no real mention of how to do this in the manual or online.
Of course, as is always the case, I couldn’t just let support solve my problem so I reinstalled the software while I waited for a reply and discovered my firewall was blocking all connections to 10.128.200.19:800 for some reason. After re-enabling this local network transmission and resetting the watch’s data log, the SLEEPTRACKER Pro once again decided to play nice with the software.
Unfortunately, a side-effect of this install was that it nuked all my previous data. Hence only two night’s data on the screenshot. I’m back to work tomorrow, so I’ve reset the alarm to vibrate *and* sound at 7AM.
Sixth Night: The SLEEPTRACKER Pro once again woke me during an almost-awake moment and I awoke calmly and mildly refreshed. I set the alarm to sound without the vibration function for tomorrow morning as I realised I was yet to see if this setup would wake me.
Seventh Night: On the last morning of the trial, I once again work up during an almost-awake moment, feeling relaxed and ready for the waking world. Overall, I would rate my awakenings over the trial as better than normal, but generally not wildly so.
While the software does the job, it isn't a marvel of human interface and design and on the whole feels a little undercooked. It does work however, and plots sleeping patterns to make your morning coffee in front of the PC that little more interesting.
The software also allows you to annotate your sleep data, with mood information, factors that affected your sleep or even text notes to better track your sleeps. While I am still not convinced as to the point of keeping such detailed records, I do like it.
The layout is adequate but quirks like not knowing where your data is stored or having any way to export or back it up are something Innovative Sleep Solution’s should aim to improve in the next version.
While I do like the look of the SLEEPTRACKER Pro, the watch is a little on the chunky side and may take some getting used to for some. For the purpose of the review, I wore the watch during the day as well as at night and considering I don’t normally wear a watch, I found it quite tolerable. Interestingly, people who noticed the watch on my wrist commented favourably on it and despite the SLEEPTRACKER title, few guessed it was more than a timepiece.
As a wake-up tool, the SLEEPTRACKER Pro aims very high and in the short time I have spent with it, has shown that it appears capable of living up to its claims. I did get the impression that when awoken during an almost-awake moment, I felt better than normal, but without long term testing to account for any placebo effect, cannot say with certainty how much the SLEEPTRACKER Pro has improved my waking experience.
The vibrate function, while a valuable addition and probably useful to the majority of sleepers, seemed to be lost on my heavy sleeping. The alarm however wasn’t too loud or too quiet and in fact, seemed to be just about perfect for getting me out of bed.
Overall the SLEEPTRACKER Pro is good product. It is a fashionable timepiece, has the potential to improve your mornings by waking you up more refreshed and also gives you loads of data to entertain yourself with when you probably should be working.
The SLEEPTRACKER Pro is available from Innovative Sleeping Solutions website direct and retails for $179US. The standard SLEEPTRACKER retails for $149US.