Documenting your sleep

Health, Web/Tech

I have written before about how bad my sleeping habits apparently are and how I do bad things while asleep.

I think sleep is very important, and if you don’t do it right, then you can really be in for a terrible time down the road. Ever since I read Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris, the true body hacker, I have been a bit more aware of my time sleeping. He has an entire section about Perfecting Sleep. In that section he talks about ways to track your sleep and tools he uses and has tried out to help you sleep better and learn from each night’s sleep.

That section had me intrigued because obviously it included gadgets. I looked at a few of the gadgets and I must say that I would love to have them all. Some of these tracking devices will track your sleep, others will wake you up at the perfect time. And some will track you all day too in order to track your activity and diet habits.

I thought I had found the perfect mix of all of these things in the Jawbone Up, but unfortunately the product had a manufacturing fault where many of the units became unusable pretty quickly. And because of this, they stopped manufacturing and you can’t buy any, and probably won’t be able to buy any until the summer.

So, here I am back at square one trying to decide on what I want to get for my sleeping needs. Below is the list that I have used for choosing how I would like to go about this.


It seems there really isn’t a perfect option out there unfortunately. The above list is a modified version of the list that Wakemate has on their site, so if it looks a bit skewed towards them, that’s why.

For me, the silent alarm is a major want because we have a baby on the way in the next month or so. So that pulls out almost all of the different sleep tracking options out there. And with the Jawbone not shipping, it really only leaves two options. The Lark looks nice, but considering the sleep assessment costs an extra $60 per year, and the alarm simply wakes you at a specific time, and not at the best time, that kind of takes it out as well. So that leaves the Sleep Cycle App for iOS.

I have been trying out the app for the past week, and while it works well for tracking the sleep and being able to see the sleep graph, I have tried out the silent alarm, and since it doesn’t actually touch you, but instead sits under the fitted sheet on your bed under your pillow, it hasn’t worked for me yet. Now, the actual alarm does work pretty well as far as waking me up, but I don’t notice any real difference in my energy levels or how I wake up since it just so happens that I am moving at the time so it feels the movement on the mattress. One thing that is interesting is that I can see the points where I typically am moving around the bed, or my wife is.


And that brings up another issue with the app. Since it isn’t actually attached to me, it can’t differentiate between my movement, and my wife. Of course, it probably isn’t that big of an issue because if she is moving that much, then I suppose it probably wakes me up as well. So it’s probably not too far off course. I have seen other reviews of the app, and it seems that most single people’s charts show that it is pretty close to deep sleep for most of the first part of the night, and then get closer to awake as the morning comes. But most married people have a lot more spikes because it gets a lot more movement from two people, and especially when one of them is pregnant.

I am definitely not sold on the app, though, like I said, I do like seeing the graphs of my nights and seeing the statistics, but as far as the actual alarm function, I am sure it doesn’t work as well as the actual dedicated devices for waking you up at the right time.

I am definitely going to keep looking, and will maybe check eBay to try out more than one for a cheaper price. I’ll definitely write another blog post as I try out more of these products.


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