Sleep tracker gadget recommendations?
July 5, 2012 7:32 AM   Subscribe

What's the newest in sleep-tracking gadgets?

I'm interested in tracking my sleep cycles and getting as much data as possible at the level of a consumer gadget: total sleep time, REM vs. non-REM, and if it can give me things like heart rate, or other indicators like respiratory status, etc. that would be even more awesome.
I'd like something that's not super intrusive (like a tight-fitting head-band or something) but collecting good, reliable data, and not being too expensive are probably the other focuses for me.

Difficulty: running OS X 10.6, but only have a Blackberry 8800. I'll upgrade to an iOS/Android device at some point, but not in the immediate future...

Bonus: nice optional features would be things like tracking my activity throughout the day, calories/steps taken and all that jazz, but that's all much lower priority.

Thanks hivemind!
posted by raspberry jam and clothes iron to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Jawbone Up has gotten rave reviews, but are pretty much locked into the iOS market. I've tried it for a few sleeping and active times and it's not bad. Again, you are locked into iOS, though you can apparently get away with a iPod Touch if you end up getting an Android phone.
posted by tilde at 7:56 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

My understanding is that Jawbone Up tracks your sleep based on how much you are moving around. Lots of fidgeting = light sleep or awake. Stillness = deep sleep. I don't know whether there is a consumer product that gives you anything more than that, though.
posted by alms at 9:02 AM on July 5, 2012

The fitbit seems pretty popular for quantified self data. It does do some sleep tracking as well.
posted by andendau at 9:04 AM on July 5, 2012

There's the Zeo Sleep Manager, that I've never used.
I've got a fitbit and that seems to work for just giving me numbers (of hours I've slept or slept restfully).
posted by yeoz at 9:11 AM on July 5, 2012

Cheap and non-invasive options all rely on actigraphy because all you need to do it is a simple accelerometer. Most smartphones now have an accelerometer which is how you can get apps like SleepCycle that only need a phone to do basic sleep tracking.

The FitBit uses just such a system to do sleep tracking (you wear it as a wristband) and pedometry throughout the day. You access the data through a browser after uploading it to FitBit's website. There is a desktop client involved, but it is specced to work with 10.6 (and even has legacy support for 10.4). In the product's early days, there was no way to export your data from their web-based system, but that seems to have changed.

Bottom line, you probably want a FitBit.
posted by andorphin at 9:35 AM on July 5, 2012

I would definitely recommend against the FitBit. The sleep tracking was very, very inaccurate for me. There were nights where I lay awake for over an hour (I looked at the clock, so I know) but the FitBit happily recorded that I fell asleep in 7 minutes. I tried switching it to the "sensitive" mode, but then it said I was hardly sleeping at all, even on nights where I'd gotten pretty solid sleep.

I've heard the Up is a little better, but it won't help at all if you're not on iOS and it's currently off the market.

The Zeo that yeoz mentions is supposedly more accurate, since it does more than measure just movement. I don't have any personal experience with it, but hopefully somebody here can give you an opinion on it.
posted by duien at 10:11 AM on July 5, 2012

There is Philips Respironics Actiwatch, but I think it's quite expensive. In addition to sleep/wake activity recording, it has the ability to record information about the amount and duration of ambient white light illuminance (this is useful info if you have circadian rhythm disorder).
posted by leigh1 at 11:30 AM on July 5, 2012

Also with the FitBit, it's been my exp (with both versions) that if you get up and "stay up" more than once for more than 5 min at a time at night, it ends your sleep and doesn't record the rest of the night, even if you had finally gone to sleep. Additionally, it didn't allow you to stop sleep really once it started to restart it (with Up you can take a "nap" for example). And it had trouble maintaining data if you didn't upload data every day without fail.
posted by tilde at 12:12 PM on July 5, 2012

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