I bought a Jawbone UP band and started tracking my sleep four years ago. I wore the band for three years before it broke.
Sleep tracking wasn’t an option with the Apple Watch because it needs to be charged every night.
I needed a solution that didn’t require wear, and I didn’t want to be hassled with charging my Apple Watch along with an additional device.
There are a few non-wearable options:
I stumbled upon the Sense Sleep Tracker by Hello. It met two qualifications. You don’t need to charge it or remember to use it. Also, it works for multiple people sleeping in the same bed. It includes a round ball (orb) that goes on a nightstand and a Bluetooth-enabled “pill” that clips onto a pillow.
- The data quality is as accurate as other wearables (Fitbit and UP Bands). Sense tweaks the algorithm with each update. It uses sound and movement to detect light/deep sleep patterns.
- You don’t have to wear any devices.
- The app is sleek and well designed.
- Some claim to struggle with setting it up but I thought it was easy. Software updates seemed to have addressed related issues. Put the app on WiFi and sync the pills (by shaking them) until recognized.
- This works well if you have two people in the same bed (You’ll need one pill per pillow.)
- The app shows the current temperature, light level, sound level, and humidity. All data is featured in a time graph.
- The app features a noise generator to help users fall asleep. There are several soothing sounds (i.e. rainfall, ocean, light wind) to choose. However, it would make sense if the sound played through the orb rather than your phone.
- Sense’s smart alarms are cool. They wake you up when you’re in the phase of your sleep cycle most conducive to waking up (versus deep sleep). This makes you feel less groggy. It starts with soft tones and slowly fades in volume as the orb turns blue. I don’t use the alarm often. I prefer Barcode Alarm.
- The orb is not an eyesore; it looks cool and futuristic. Tap it at any point and it turns a specific color depending on room conditions.
- It’s not cheap. It’s $129 for the orb and the pill, and $39 for each additional pill, making it double the price of common wearables. Compared to non-wearables, the price is reasonable.
- The pill’s battery is supposed to last about a year but mine only lasted six months. The batteries are only a couple of dollars.
- You’re out of luck if you regularly use a snooze button. Maybe they’ll add one as part of a future software update.
- They could do more with the data and software. The data is only available through the Sense app. There should be a way to export the data to other services.
- At times, the tracker says I fall asleep earlier than I do, but you can adjust the time and the graph fixes itself. There are no sleep tracking devices on the market with 100% accuracy.
My sleep score is usually around 80 out of 100.
Recently, things have changed. I’ve noticed there’s been “a noise disturbance” at least five times every night.
I couldn’t figure out what it was. (I’m obviously asleep when it happens.) Was it loud traffic? Other noises outside? Snoring? Loud roommates? After three weeks, I made an audio recording using my iPhone. It turns out I’m talking A LOT in my sleep!
Who is this for?
No sleep tracking device is going to be extremely accurate, but I think most provide a solid barometer of sleep quality, and the information is always entertaining.
I use it as motivation too. If I see I got seven hours, I won’t be tempted to go back to sleep. The numbers convince me I’m well rested.
Although the data is interesting, a lot of it is superfluous. I can’t say I’ve made significant changes to room conditions or sleep habits due to the information.
If you want to track sleep, this is the easiest and best way to accomplish it. The Sense is perfect for people who don’t wear a fitness band but want to track sleep.
However, if you have a fitness band, Sense’s accuracy and app is not worth the money.