Sleeptracker Watch Aims to Let You Wake Up Refreshed [Hands-On Review]

Getting up in the morning can be a challenge. The Sleeptracker watch is designed to change that.

The Sleeptracker is designed by the Atlanta-based Innovative Sleep Solutions and sells for $150. A lot of people seem to swear by it, including Dr. Phil. Since they were kind of enough to send me one, I thought I’d give it a shot.

This is no ordinary watch. It monitors your sleep patterns, checking for how deeply you’re actually sleeping. It will wake you up within a certain window you’ve set it to. (The default is 20 minutes.) If you’re woken up in a lighter stage the theory goes, then you’ll get easier and will feel less tired during the day. So how does it work in practice?

The watch itself is nicely designed, with a large digital display and well thought-out controls with large buttons. It also has a night light for when you’re in the dark. It’s available in “pearl white” and “onyx black.” The latter is shown above and the model I was sent to review.

You set the alarm time and the type of alarm (either audible, vibrating, or both), the time when you expect to fall asleep (the manual recommends 30 minutes after you go to bed) and just sleep like you normally would. It feels slightly odd to wear a watch to bed, but it seems to be one of those things you get used to.

When you wake up, you can review all your sleep cycles. The watch shows the average of the amount of deep sleep you got and shows all of the times your sleep was interrupted. Most people’s sleep cycles last about an hour and a half, so the results might be pretty surprising.

Where the Sleeptracker watch gets really interesting is the ability to upload your sleep data. You can download a program for either Mac or Windows that lets you plug in the supplied USB cable and upload the watch data onto your computer and onto a website that lets you track your sleep over time.

When I tried it on my Mac, I got a weird Java error. Fortunately, I had access to a Windows PC and was able to upload from that machine. It’s a little tricky to position the cable just right on the watch. The end that plugs into the watch is an odd, alligator-clip like connector that has three prongs.

When I did get the data uploaded, it was pretty interesting. Most of the deepest sleep happened around when I first went to bed, and my sleep got progressively lighter as it approached morning.

Here’s what the graph of my first night with the watch looks like:

Sleeptracker report

How well did the watch actually work in waking me up? I did feel more refreshed and less groggy, but it’s also possible that it could have been caused by the Placebo effect. I also consume quite a bit of caffeine, as most geeks do.

So is the watch worth the money? The concept of the watch is intriguing. Geeks love keeping track of things, even sleep. It’s worth looking into, especially if you don’t always sleep as well as you should.

If you want another geeky way to wake up, check out the Darth Vader alarm clock by ThinkGeek. If you’re in a more DIY mood and you love bacon, you might want to build an alarm clock that actually cooks the Internet’s favorite food.