Over 4 years ago, we reviewed the first Sleeptracker sleep phase wrist-watch alarm product. Since then Innovative Sleep Solutions has come out with some newer versions of the Sleeptracker, including the Sleeptracker Elite, which comes in two color variations – for men and women.
Here’s my review of the new Sleeptracker Elite. The Elite (for men) now comes with some blue trim and a rectangular body as compared to the white trim but more rounded classic Sleeptracker.
I was really looking forward to this new Sleeptracker but was disappointed to find another plastic body watch reminiscent of the cheap Casio and Timex watches I had as a kid. Similar to those is the traditional hard-to-press 4-button arrangement with its complex sequences needed to get to its various features and/or modify anything.
A welcome addition is that of a vibration mode for the alarm. But unfortunately I found that this version wasn’t as comfortable as the original, perhaps because of the discrete holes. An infinite adjustable watch band would have been preferable. Even better would have been something resembling the aXbo model where all you wear is a very light soft wristband that communicates with a data gathering and monitor that sits off the side of your bed. After all, who wears a watch any more when we all have cell phones?!
USB Connection and Software
So what else is new? The single biggest addition has to be that of the USB connection so that you can download your past night’s sleep data from the Sleeptracker to your computer for further analysis and storage. However, you won’t find a typical USB connector on the watch side, but instead must use an awkward alligator clip that has 3 prongs that need to be lined up correctly with some shallow holes on the back plate of the watch.
The accompanying software is simple, but effective enough and definitely an improvement over no tracking. One feature that I like is the ability to note quickly via a checkbox whether there were any external factors affecting your sleep – for example, alcohol, caffeine, eating late, extreme temperatures, etc.
What would be even better is if there was a cloud-based (online web service) that you could securely upload your data and have it be accessible anywhere, with the added benefit being that the Sleeptracker folks could improve the analysis engine and interface providing even more value to Sleeptracker owners in the future.
Unfortunately, the watch does not store more than one set of data, which means that the second you activate the alarm again (say for an afternoon nap) and it goes off, the data from the previous night will be gone. This just isn’t smart, and not useful for the busy type that can’t (and/or won’t) religiously download their data daily.
Sleep Phase Tracking and Alarm
But does it work? Yes and no. I found pretty much the same results as I did with the original Sleeptracker. It did help me wake up near the end of sleep cycles as I could tell (and this is subjective of course) that I felt more awake than my usual being jolted wide-eyed by my blaring alarm clock.
We all have those nights when we know when we’ve slept better or worse and the data captured on the Sleeptracker certainly reflects that in the longer/shorter spans of time between movements (aka sleep cycle start/ends).
If you have a sleeping disorder such as delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPS), then the Sleeptracker probably won’t help you that much.
Otherwise, I found pretty much the same set of features as in the original Sleeptracker. This version is also more pricey, coming in at $179. While I’ve been fairly hard on the Sleeptracker Elite, it’s not because it’s a bad product, but mainly because I felt that they haven’t improved enough on their original.
It’s also important to remember that they were one of the first in this market and helped to stir up a nice selection of competition, although sleep aid gadgets are not quite the commodity item yet as the prices are still fairly high across the board.
And remember, waking up in tune with your sleep phases is not a substitute for a full night’s sleep!