In my opinion, achieving a sense of general well-being includes three vital components: incorporating a balanced and nutritious diet into your lifestyle, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. Not surprisingly, most people are lacking in one or all of these areas, which is why I am thrilled to tell you about this new device that acts as your personal sleep coach — because we all know if we don't get enough sleep, diet and exercise tend to be the last things on our minds.
Based on academic articles within sleep science and designed in conjunction with sleep scientists, the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach is a four-part system which includes a headband, a bedside display, an interactive website, and a seven-step sleep fitness program. Its purpose is to measure your sleep patterns and give you tools to help improve your sleep by educating you on how you're actually sleeping. It's not some magical sleep doctor in a box, but it is pretty cool.
To keep reading about my first few experiences with Zeo and to see some more photos of the device, just read more.
If you're already thinking, "Huh?" let me explain. The way it works is you wear the wireless headband to bed, and with its sensor technology, your sleep patterns will be tracked and transmitted to your bedside Zeo clock. You can see me wearing the headband below — it's really not that bad once you get used to it, just make sure on your first night you're really tired and it's the weekend so you can slowly adjust!
After a night of wearing the headband (it fell off my first night, although I learned I could pull my ponytail right through the back strap), you can read the bedside display to see a sleep graph which summarizes your pattern of sleep phases each night (like total amount of REM, and light, and deep sleep, which is broken down into hours, minutes, and percentages), and your ZQ score. I think the best part of this entire trial run was the excitement of waking up to read the graph — and check out my ZQ score, naturally! It's funny because my highest score (usually around 110) would be on the weekends (they say your ZQ can range from 0-120). The fact that I was completely tuckered out from the week before, and relaxed because it was the weekend, made for some ideal sleeping conditions.
Zeo also comes with a SD memory card that will load all of the info from your headband onto it (when you dock your headband), which you can then upload onto your computer to your web-based personal sleep account. The Zeo's seven-step fitness program will then analyze your sleep patterns and lifestyle (like exercise, diet, stress, and environment), and recommend techniques, tools, and tips to address the issues that may be affecting your sleep. The program is intended to be completed within eight to 12 weeks.
The Zeo also includes a neat feature called the SmartWake Alarm which will look for a moment when you transition into and out of REM sleep when the brain is highly active. Therefore Zeo may wake you as early as half an hour before your set wake-up time, but it will never wake you up later than your actual alarm time. Because the Zeo costs $399, you'll be happy to know that this is one fancy schmancy alarm clock. Even if you're not using the headband, the alarm clock itself includes settings to adjust its brightness, and it offers relaxing alarm sounds to make the wake-up process a little less startling.
Overall, I give the Zeo a nice four out of five stars. As I said, it's not some magical sleep doctor that's going to cure insomniacs or people with major snoring issues, but it is going to educate you on your sleep style and give you some helpful suggestions for improving your sleep. Note to self: no more gadgets in the bedroom!