Create a snapshot of your sleep and fight off jet lag – Gadling reviews the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach

As part of the National Sleep Awareness Week, we’ve been taking a look at some gadgets and services that can help improve your sleep. Earlier this week, we introduced you to Sleeptracker, and today, we’ll show off a gadget that actually creates an exact snapshot of how well (or poorly) you slept.

The Zeo Sleep Monitor consists of three parts – the bedside clock, a headband sensor, and an SD memory card. The combination of these allows you to monitor your sleep down to the minute – the system knows when you are awake, in deep sleep, REM sleep or light sleep. At the end of the night, you can review your sleep on the display, and upload your sleep report to the Zeo web site.
The Zeo unit and headband

The Zeo unit looks really nice – it features a large display that shows the time, battery status of the headband and your sleep numbers. On top of the unit are buttons for changing settings and on the back is a small dock for the headband.

When wearing the headband, there is no denying that it’ll take a little getting used to – during my first night I was very well aware that it was on my head. But by the second and third nights I barely noticed it. The headband makes electrical contact with your forehead, and its sensors detect how well (or poorly) you sleep.

The alarm feature in the unit is fantastic – it can wake you exactly when you want it to, or it can wake you within a “window” when it feels you won’t be too groggy.

The online sleep log

When you wake up the next morning, you place the headband in the docking base of the Zeo unit, and it transfers your sleep data. Alternatively, you can enable wireless transfers – this constantly uploads your sleep data to the unit, allowing you to keep a close eye on it. This is handy if you regularly wake up in the middle of the night. Of course, you’ll still need to dock the headband to charge it.

Once the data has been loaded into the Zeo bedside unit, you can remove the SD memory card to upload your sleep data. The myZeo personal sleep coach is an extremely well built online sleep analyzer that keeps track of your sleep, and acts as your coaching hub.

The heart of your sleep report is your “ZQ” – this is a number between 0 and 120, calculated by Zeo to determine the quality of your sleep. The number is calculated based off how much sleep you got, your restorative sleep and whether your sleep was disrupted. In addition to your ZQ, your myZeo pages also report your “morning feel” – based on how well you slept, and when you woke up.

This is an hour-by-hour overview of how well I slept – you can see exactly when I fell asleep, how long it took me to fall asleep, and when I was in deep sleep, light sleep or REM sleep.

This information is great for two reasons – first of all, it is just plain fun to look back at your sleep, and get a very accurate overview of how you spent your night. Secondly, it gives you a great way to start work on getting a better night sleep. Combined with the coaching tools provided by Zeo, you really can take a close look at why your sleep

Zeo for travel?

Zeo is not necessarily designed to be travel friendly, but the alarm clock is not too bulky to carry on the road. Its included power supply works on 100V-240V, so it’ll be happy on any outlet you can find, no matter where in the world.

Sleep and travel normally don’t go to well together, but with the tools inside Zeo, you may be able to pinpoint why sleep is an issue when you travel, and adjust your routine. In addition to this, Zeo may be able to help snap you out of nasty jet lag symptoms.

Final thoughts

The Zeo system is an amazing piece of technology – being able to wake up in the morning, and see exactly how you slept is just plain cool. The system retails for $249, which includes the Zeo unit, headband, SD memory card and reader, as well as access to the myZeo site. For $349, you get the same package, along with lifetime sleep coaching, an extended warranty and replacement sensors for the headband. The unit comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.

If you have problems with your sleep, or if you’d just like to keep a closer eye on your sleep performance, I can highly recommend Zeo. Taking Zeo on the road can help you pick the best time to fall asleep, or when to wake up – this can greatly speed up getting used to a new time zone, or to fight off jet lag.

Product page: Zeo Personal Sleep Coach

Before you go, be sure to check out Gadling’s Travel Talk TV, in which the guys visit the Monterey Aquarium, interview the pilot who filmed his entire flight from the nose of his 747, and offer up international dating tips!

Snooze tips from a NYC sleep concierge

No matter how posh a hotel room is, sometimes it’s hard to sleep well in new places.

Anya Orlanska, the Sleep Concierge at the Benjamin hotel in midtown Manhattan, shares some tips gleaned from 2.5 years of fielding requests from weary business travelers. Though 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets can help, there are other tricks to help you catch some Zs.

What do your guests always ask you?
I spend a lot of time recommending the appropriate pillow. The Benjamin’s sleep menu is placed on the bed prior to the guest’s arrival and any (or all) of the pillow options can be delivered to the room with just one call to me.

Are any pillows more popular than others?

Some of the most popular from our 12-pillow menu include the Swedish memory foam (conforms to the body and keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer), the water-filled pillow (for instant relief from headaches and neck pain, fill it with warm or cold water), the five-foot body cushion (helpful if you’re used to sleeping with another person, also great for expectant mothers), and the “lullaby” pillow that you can plug an iPod into, so you can fall asleep to your own music.

What are some common mistakes that travelers make while on the road?
Doing work or eating in bed, eating a heavy meal or consuming a lot of alcohol and caffeine before bed–and making the room too hot (it’s best to sleep in a cool environment).

Is there anything you can recommend for people who are fighting jet lag?
If you’re staying in a hotel with a spa, get a massage before going to bed.

Booking Details:
“The Art of Sleep” package at the Benjamin starts at $578 for two nights and includes a consultation with the Sleep Concierge, a nightly snack of PB&J finger sandwiches, 20 percent off a spa treatment at the on-site Wellness Spa, the National Sleep Foundation’s sleep kit (eye mask, lavender bath salts, a CD, and a copy of A Good Night’s Sleep), and late checkout at 2 p.m. Valid until Dec. 31.

Tip: Room service can deliver milk and cookies, but it’ll cost you a whopping $20.14, with taxes and delivery charges. Each of the rooms at the Benjamin hotel have a microwave, so find a nearby bodega, stock up, and warm up your own snack before bedtime.%Gallery-67351%


Wake up when you are ready to be awake – Gadling reviews the Sleeptracker Elite

As part of the 2010 Sleep Awareness Week, we’ll kick things off with a smart gadget that can help you wake up more refreshed, and keep track of how well you are sleeping.

The Sleeptracker Elite is part watch, part sleep monitor. The watch uses internal sensors to detect your sleep patterns, and it uses this data to wake you when it feels you have reached the optimal wake time.

The watch itself isn’t much to write about – the mens version I’m testing looks more like a $20 generic from the local mega-mart. It is also quite bulky, but considering it is filled with a USB interface and a variety of sensors, bulky is to be expected. The watch has four buttons on the side – glow, down, mode and set. Thankfully, it is also water resistant.
The purpose of the Sleeptracker is to wake you inside a predetermined window. By analyzing your sleep, the watch actually wakes you up to 30 minutes before the alarm time you set. The end result of this is simple (on paper): you wake up feeling less groggy.

So – does it work? I’m happy to say that it really does work exactly as promised. It took me two nights to get used to wearing the watch, and I wasn’t happy with the idea of waking up earlier than I had planned. On the third morning, the watch woke me about 20 minutes earlier than the alarm clock, and I really did feel much more awake, without any urge to add a bunch of “snoozes”. I jumped out of bed, took a shower and started the day almost an hour earlier than usual. It really is funny how much more productive you are when you start the day right.

Best of all, the Sleeptracker Elite wakes you with a vibrating alarm, which meant I was able to review it without waking my wife.

The Sleeptracker Elite also connects to your computer, allowing you to analyze its data. The cable clips onto the back of the watch, and the included software downloads your data on a matter of seconds. The application is available for the PC and Mac.

All in all, the Sleeptracker Elite delivers exactly what it promises. It may not be the prettiest device, but it is surprising to see how well the watch can wake me.

For travelers, the Sleeptracker may be the perfect way to get out of the horror that is jetlag. I once spent a month trying to adjust to being back home, and really wish I had this device back then. By tracking which factors impact your sleep, you can also adjust your lifestyle to find an even better nights sleep.

The Sleeptracker Elite watch is available for men and women, and normally retails for $179.99 – but as part of Sleep Week, you can purchase one with a sweet 30% discount by entering coupon code SleepWeek2010 at checkout.