Monday, April 11, 2011

Hacking My Sleep with the Zeo Sleep Coaching Device

Zeo-Sleep-Monitor
Over the past couple of months, I have been experimenting with tracking my sleep through a few gadgets I came across. The first one I tried out was the Sleeptracker Elite which I ended up not liking and selling off on eBay. The other device I played around with is the Zeo Sleep machine. In a nut shell, it is an alarm clock on steroids that is wirelessly linked to a headband with sensors that can track your brainwaves (yes, YOUR BRAINWAVES!). You put the headband on while you are sleeping and it records your sleep patterns. The data is then uploaded to a website via an SD Card where the data can be analyzed. Another key feature of the Zeo is Smart Wake whereby you set a time you want to get up like a regular alarm clock but you also set a range before the wake up time, usually 15 – 20 minutes. The Zeo will then detect if you are in a light sleep phase and wake you up during this optimal time. Many times, when people are suddenly awoken from a deep sleep/REM phase, they will feel groggy which ends up affecting the rest of their day. Smart Wake helps to ensure you wake up feeling refreshed. Rather than recreate the wheel on a review on the rest of the Zeo features, one of my favorite blogs to read, dcrainmaker.com, put up a pretty thorough write-up on the Zeo that you can check out.
The typical sleeping pattern is going through cycles of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM. One of the main selling points for me was getting better insight into how much quality sleep I was receiving each night in addition to how much actual sleep I was getting. It is great to understand your sleeping patterns but ultimately, you want to be able to improve how you sleep. The Zeo coaches you through this process with a 7 Step Sleep Fitness Program. After collecting baseline data on your sleeping patterns that is uploaded to the Zeo website, Zeo sends you daily emails on what you should be doing to improve your sleeping habits. After going through the first step, here’s what my starting point looks like. One major thing to point out is that the nights I selected were typical week nights since weekends are generally staying up later than usual and sleeping in.
Baseline Period
12/29/10 - 02/10/11
Nights of Data Collected
15
Top 3 Goals I Wanted to Improve with the Zeo
  1. Get more restorative sleep
  2. Wake up more easily in the morning
  3. Feel better in the morning
ZQ and your sleep phases
This section presents your sleep phases over the course of your baseline, and shows you how they compare to typical sleep statistics for 30-40 year-olds.
[side note: it feels really weird seeing myself in the 30 – 40 age bracket]
ZQ
A summary of how you slept based on Total Z, Restorative sleep, and Disrupted sleep.
My Average: 72
Range: 58 – 91
Other 30-40yr Olds Average: 80
Range: 63 - 96
Total Z
How long you were actually asleep during the night.
My Average: 6:42
Range: 5:30 - 8:32
Other 30-40yr Olds  Average: 7:05
Range: 6:15 - 7:55
Note: National Institutes of Health recommends that adults sleep 7-9 hours each night, regardless of age
Time in Wake
The length of time you were awake after having fallen asleep. Zeo does not record awakenings lasting less than 2 minutes.
Average: 0:05
Range: 0:01 - 0:15
Time in REM
The length of time you spent in REM sleep - a phase important for its contribution to overall mental health, mood, and the ability to learn and retain new information.
My Average: 1:39
Range: 0:58 - 2:24
Other 30-40yr Olds  Average: 1:31
Range: 1:04 - 1:58
Time in Light
The length of time you spent in Light sleep - a phase that usually accounts for the majority of the night and is important for getting more total sleep.
My Average: 4:23
Range: 3:42 - 5:26
Other 30-40yr Olds Average: 4:26
Range: 3:28 - 5:35
Time in Deep
The length of time you spent in Deep sleep - a phase important for feeling restored and refreshed.
My Average: 0:41
Range: 0:30 - 1:01
Other 30-40yr Olds Average: 1:09
Range: 0:35 - 1:44
Baseline and wake-up statistics
This section shows basic information about when you go to bed and wake up in the morning. The last row shows how you feel you slept over the course of your baseline period.
Time to Z
The time from when you put your headband on to when you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Average: 0:20
Range: 0:01 - 1:07
Bedtime
The time you try to fall asleep.
Typical: 10:58 pm
Range: 9:41 pm - 1:15 am
Rise Time
The time you wake up.
Typical: 5:27 am
Range: 5:10 am - 7:35 am
Sleep Schedule Consistency
The number of nights in this step that you went to bed or got up within a 40 minute window.
Bedtime: 8 of 15 nights
Rise Time: 12 of 15 nights
+Zzz Presses
The number of times you press the snooze button each morning.
Average: 0
Range: 0 - 0
Morning Feel (scale of 1 – 5)
The way you perceive you slept when you wake up in the morning.
Average: 3
Range: 2 - 4
Based on the data above, there is a lot of room for improvement. My goal is to start Step 2 next week and report back progress as I go through the program. Stay tuned!

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