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Tag Archives: Sleep

Jawbone UP looks like an interesting contender in sleep tech

Just looked at this for the first time (thanks to a commenter suggesting it).

Looks like it uses the same idea as the fitbit and Sleep Cycle; motion tracking to assess your sleep cycles. It’s sound tech, and works well in the two I’ve tried out.

The UP is more of a direct competitor with fitbit, seeing as it also works for tracking movement during the day. Which makes me wonder just how they’re tracking movement, seeing as the Jawbone UP is on the wrist. I don’t know about you, but I move my wrist an awful lot more during the day than I move most of the rest of me (ah, the sedentary life of a writer). Seems likely that there’s some communication with the iPhone to help with that.

I do really like some of the features they mention:

  • Water resistant  (woo! I have a history of dropping expensive electronics in water.)
  • Reminder to move periodically during sedentary (computer focused) activities (this is hugely important for people with RSI, and even though I *know* I should do something like this, I never actually do.)
  • Silent wake-up, via vibration, at the appropriate point in your sleep cycle

That last one is actually of tremendous interest. With both Sleep Cycle and the Zeo, which do the same thing with varying levels of accuracy, you have the issue of potentially waking your partner at an inopportune time. Since they both use sound, it’s really impossible to wake only one person. I can’t tell you the number of times the alarm has gone off waking one of us at exactly the wrong moment, thereby leaving us groggy the rest of the day.

Jawbone UP looks like it might solve that particular problem. Hard to know, not having experienced it and therefore not knowing if the vibration would be enough to wake me. (I’ve been known to sleep through sizable earthquakes). The idea of a dawn lamp really still seems best to me. And if anyone finds a way to connect that to the Zeo (or, heck, any one of these sleep trackers) I’m so totally there.

From what little I’ve seen in commentary, there may be a question of sturdiness with the UP. But then, I found that the fitbit tended to crack (both fitbits I’ve had did this, which makes me wonder at the customer service response saying they’d never seen that before, but they would–and did–replace my broken fitbit). For that matter, the Zeo started malfunctioning a few months ago, and since then it’s been gathering dust on my dresser. Sleep Cycle is, at this point, the only one I’m using every night. Though it is the least accurate of the three. It’s the easiest.

Of course, the reason I’m not using my fitbit is that I managed to misplace it and then, once I found it, I couldn’t find the charger. So, I might still be using it if I could charge it…

The UP weighs in at a solid $99, making it equivalent to the fitbit in terms of cost.

Fitbit Ultra

Zeo @ Amazon

10 Effective Sleep Aids

There are tons of different sleep aids out there. Some work, some are complete snake oil. Expensive snake oil, at that. Lord knows many of us have bought plenty of it. Here are some things that do work. Not all of these items actually help you get to sleep. Some help you wake up at the right time or in the right way, which kinda goes hand in hand with that whole trouble sleeping thing.

  1. Melatonin Sublingual 3mg – 60 – Tablet Gluten free sublingual melatonin from Douglas Labs. It’s a small, small tab that you place under your tongue about a half hour before bedtime. It will dissolve slowly. This is by far the most effective melatonin I’ve found out of the many that I’ve tried. The only thing more effective than this, for me, is Ambien. For some reason, this brand is only distributed through “healthcare practitioners” and, apparently,  Amazon. If you’re like me, and you have trouble falling asleep at night, it might well be from a lack of sufficient melatonin, and this may well be worth trying. Read more →

Sleep Tracking: Looking at the Zeo

If your goal is accurately tracking your sleep, the Zeo is your best bet. Let’s look at why.

The Tech

The tech on the Zeo is completely different from the actigraphy of the fitbit and Sleep Cycle. Instead of focusing on movement, and then deducing sleep phases from that (which is helpful, but has a greater margin of error), the Zeo focuses on brainwaves. Based on the same tech as EEGs, it tracks the phases of your brain activity. Well, it tracks the electrical impulses of your brain activity and then deduces from that your sleep phases. This is also not *perfectly* accurate, but neither is an EEG. As my ENT told me today (hi, Robson!) there are several different phases that can look like REM.

In a sleep lab, it takes more than just monitoring, it takes interpretation. You’ll have sleep specialists looking at your EEG read outs and making their own analysis of your brain activity during sleep. EEG is probably more accurate than the Zeo, but it’s also a lot more cumbersome. Witness:

EEG

Zeo

Read more →

Sleep Cycle Messes Up

Sleep Cycle woke me at exactly the wrong moment this morning. I was in the middle of a dream (which the Zeo was quite aware of) when Sleep Cycle went off. Which just goes to show that Sleep Cycle really is  quite imprecise. It’s better than nothing, but not better than the Zeo.

Sleep Tracking: Looking at Fitbit

Of all the sleep tracking devices, my fitbit is the one I’ve used longest. Unless you count the CPAP.

To use the fitbit for sleep tracking, you slip it into a wrist band, worn on your non-dominant hand, press the button (there is only one button) until the fitbit blinks START at you, and go to sleep. Pretty simple.

It uses the same tech as Sleep Cycle: accelerometer. As we already know, that’s a standard measuring device for sleep tracking. There are two major things that fitbit does better than Sleep Cycle.

Read more →

Sleep Tracking: Looking at Sleep Cycle

As mentioned before, I’ve been using the fitbit, the Zeo, and Sleep Cycle all together for over a month now. Honestly, I like all three.

With the combined data, I’m getting a good picture of my sleep. However, most people are not going to be as gadget happy as I am, and will only go for one of these sleep trackers. Maybe two at the outside. So I’ve been trying to figure out which of the three I’d pick if I could only pick one. And the answer is: it depends…

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is the one I expect will be most commonly used, simply because of the price point. It costs .99 cents. That’s pretty damned hard to beat. However,  Sleep Cycle is the weakest of the three trackers.

(This is going to be long; skip to the bottom if you just want the bullet points).

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Sleep Tracking Poll

I am curious about how other people think about this sort of stuff. Do you find it interesting? Boring? Of value? Problematic? Indication of societal decline and the end of days?

Sleep seems like a problematic area for most of the people I know. I wonder if this extends as far into the general population as I think it does. From all the articles and websites dedicated to the topic, you’d think so. But then, you rarely hear from people when they’re happy; you most often hear from them when they have a complaint (if nothing else, working in video gaming has taught me that).

At any rate, I’m curious to see how many people find tracking of value.

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Fitbit & Zeo Graphs

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, and, honestly, because I am feeling too tired to do much of a write up on anything today… The sleep graphs from last night, starting with the fitbit.

 

Fitbit Graph for 10-27-2010

And now the Zeo:

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The Zeo Arrived

Zeo arrived today. I haven’t even opened it yet.

Comparison: Fitbit vs. Sleep Cycle

This comparison isn’t going to be precisely fair, since I’ve been using my fitbit for about 10 months, and I only used Sleep Cycle (an iPhone app) for one night. But I can definitely give some initial impressions.

I’ve already talked about how useful I find the information from my fitbit. Here’s the data from last night, and no, I’m not sure what I was doing up at 2:41; I was on Ambien and it seemed like a good idea at the time:

Here is that same night, from Sleep Cycle:

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