Very few products can claim to change your life. The SleepTracker Elite has changed mine.
At first glance the SleepTracker Elite looks like a rather chunky LCD watch – slightly old-school and probably with the trend for retro at the moment reasonably stylish.
The main difference between this and an ordinary watch is that it has a built in motion sensor and on-board algorithms to work out when you are sleeping and how well you are sleeping. I’ve previously tried a similar concept as an App for an iPhone which worked well but I had to abandon after waking one morning with the power cable around my neck – a slightly scary experience.
The beauty of working out your sleep patterns is that the watch can vary your alarm time – within a predefined period – to wake you during a phase of light sleep. The manufacturer claims waking you during such a phase will make you feel more energised, refreshed and alert. From trying it for just over a week now I can say that for me those claims seem to hold out. I’m not normally a morning person but this week I have been way more productive and alert than usual.
The other good thing is that the watch can be set to vibrate as its alarm saving disturbing others and also acting as a very effective wake-up. I’m notorious for sleeping through alarms once I get used to them– I once even wrote an app for Windows Mobile to vary my alarms each day so that I didn’t get used to one. The vibrate has woken me without fail so far.
Controlling the SleepTracker is easy with four chunky buttons on the side.
The two on the left act to move up and down through settings and data.
The bottom right enables settings.
The top right toggles you through modes including Time, Alarm, Window, ToBed and Data. The last three need some explaining:
- Window: Is the amount of time either side of the alarm time that the watch can awake you if it spots a period of light sleep.
- ToBed: tells the watch your normal bed time and when to start monitoring – there is a neat feature where if you do not have a regular bed time you set this on the fly by holding down the bottom left button whilst in this mode.
- Data: shows your sleep pattern for each night showing each period of transition.
For me if this was all the SleepTracker did it would be pretty good but it has one more feature up its sleeve. On the back of the watch are three contact points, by connecting to these with what looks like a crocodile clip on the supplied cable you can connect the watch to your PC and using software downloadable from www.SleepTracker.com you can upload your sleep data to a secure area on the My.SleepTracker.com site.
This allows you to analyse your sleep patterns in much more detail
The red bars show interrupted sleep, the grey light and the green deep sleep. As can be seen from this chart I could see my sleep was being interrupted quite a bit. Analysing over a few days I worked out there was a consistent interruption around dawn. I rearranged my curtains and hey presto I gained an hours uninterrupted sleep every night and I feel way better for it.
Whilst a little pricey at $149 in the US and £129 in the UK you can easily pay that for a normal watch and the nearest equivalent requires owning an iPhone and an App which unless you are lucky enough to have someone paying for your phone will cost more.
I can’t say that if you are sleep deprived that SleepTracker will solve the problem but it may well help you track it down.
I would like to finish by saying that SleepTracker’s support during the preparation of this review has been exemplary.
Regular presenter and occasional host on The Digital Lifestyle Show. Contributing writer. Convenience Computing enthusiast. Author of the Media Center Decoder tool. Microsoft MVP