Unlike a lot of people I know, I don’t have much trouble falling asleep at night or waking up on time for appointments or the daily grind. That’s certainly a blessing, and one I don’t take for granted.
Having said that, I’d always been wary of devices that offered sleep tracking features. After all, I thought, what do you need data for when you can just wake up and see for yourself if you feel rested or not?
As I learned over the past few weeks, tracking the quality of your sleep is important for people who frequently feel fatigued, have trouble winding down at the end of the day and can’t seem to wake up without wanting to chuck their alarm clocks out the window.
That’s why I was glad to receive a Hello Sense sleep monitor in the mail. The $130 device promised to help me better understand the environment in which I sleep, as well as resting and waking patterns – all so I could get the best possible 40 winks of my life. So is it worth all the fuss and your hard-earned money?
The Sense features a beautiful globe-shaped body covered in soft-touch plastic that looks great on any nightstand. It pairs with a Sleep Pill, a coin-sized sensor that clips onto your pillowcase to track your movement in bed.
Both components, as well as the power adaptor and cable, are nicely finished and solidly built. Visit this page on Hello’s site to see beautiful footage of the Sense’s manufacturing process.
The Sense packs a number of sensors for measuring ambient temperature, humidity, light, proximity, sound and airborne particles. It also glows softly in different colors in response to changes in lighting in your room, as well as when you wave your hand over it.
It also includes a speaker to sound alarms and play white noise clips until you fall asleep. All these functions can be accessed in the companion app.
Sense’s smartphone app, available for Android and iOS, lets you control every feature of the device and view your sleep stats.
It features a simple interface that’s easy to navigate and get used to, and presents detailed information about several parameters, including the air quality, light and temperature in your room, how much you moved around, if there were any noises during the night, and how much deep sleep you got.
You can view data for the previous night as well as the past week and the current month. In addition, the app also displays cards with information about how well you sleep and the consistency of your waking in comparison with other Sense users.
In my few weeks of testing the Sense, I found it to be a handy tool for assessing the quality of my sleep. According to its data, I could be getting much better sleep by reducing the amount of noise in my room, installing a humidifier and cooling the room a bit more.
Sadly, there’s not a lot I can do about it in a pinch. A humidifier is easy enough to find, but I also snore a bit – which is why the Sense reports noise disturbances every night – and my room is already chilly enough that I sleep with a blanket.
What’s neat about the Sense is that, if you have serious sleep issues, it can arm you with plenty of data to correctly diagnose the problems keeping you from getting proper rest.
I also liked the smart alarm feature. It asks you to enter a time when you want to wake up, but will actually sound the alarm at the lightest part of your natural sleep cycle, within a half hour of the time you’ve set.
This worked really well; I’m used to waking up without an alarm, and I found that the Sense consistently rang its alarm within a minute of me getting out of bed – indicating that it can indeed accurately detect my sleep cycles.
If you’re looking to learn more about how you sleep and get better rest, the Sense is a great choice. Not only does it present a wealth of data that you can use to sort your bedroom conditions and track your sleep over time, it also includes a handy alarm and night sound player – and it looks cool in your room.
At $130, it’s a bit pricier than rivals like the $100 Beddit Smart Sleep Tracker and the $80 S+ by ResMed – but it’s significantly better looking and of much higher build quality. Plus, it can work with a second $50 Sleep Pill for your partner, which is certainly handy if both of you experience trouble sleeping.
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Published September 2, 2016 — 11:27 UTC