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Sleeptracker watch review: Waking up is hard to do

January 1, 2005

in All Articles,Miscellaneous

I have the honor to be the parent of a beautiful baby girl. She’s happy, healthy and truly everything this parent wants. …Except when she wakes me up while I’m sleeping. During the night, just when my wife and I have slid into a cozy, all-encompassing, deep sleep, where the body relaxes like an overboiled noodle-

The baby starts crying. Jolted out of sleep, we’re thrust into wide-awake reality. It’s strange, this baby’s sixth sense: She knows the perfect moment to wake us up, the one moment when we’d be the most tired and groggy. That’s her time to practice yodeling.

So I have a great system where I’m woken up at just the wrong time. Now take the opposite approach. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to wake up at the right time? What if there was a way to monitor your sleep patterns, and determine when you could be woken up feeling most refreshed and energized?

This is the claim of the “Sleeptracker” watch. The Sleeptracker uses motion detection to determine when you should wake up. Strap the watch around your wrist and give it information, like when you’ll be sleeping and when you’d like to wake up.

During the night, as the moon lazily crosses the sky, you youself change position. This movement while sleeping is associated with periods of “near awake” feelings. People woken up during these “near awake” periods generally feel more refreshed than those woken up from a deeper sleep.

Constantly monitoring your sleep, the Sleeptracker watch detects when you’re in a “near awake” period. If the period is within your specified alarm window, the watch beeps and wakes you up.

So, we have a device that proposes to detect “near awake” periods and wake up its owner at the right time they need to feel refreshed. But, we have to ask the all-important question: Does it really work?

To answer this question, we need a few more: Is the science behind the Sleeptracker valid? Does the watch truly detect movement? And when used properly, does the Sleeptracker make the user feel more rested?

After some analysis, the answer to the first two questions is “yes”. But the last question is tricky, as an objective test can’t be proved with subjective data. I may say “sure, the Sleeptracker makes me feel more rested”, but how to prove it to others? As I tested the Sleeptracker, I did feel more awake during the mornings it woke me up. This means nothing in a proper scientific test, and could be what’s called a “placebo effect” or “selection bias”: Because I know I’m testing the Sleeptracker, I’m looking for results. Those expectations influence my outcome.

So testing is difficult. But years before I received the Sleeptracker watch, I’ve noticed I tend to move around more in bed as I wake up. So a device which can alert you to those periods should theoretically work.

The Sleeptracker costs $150, and is available from

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