There are dozens of different sleep trackers currently available for consumers to purchase. Most claim to be able to detect when you’re awake and when you’re sleeping, and using that information they suggest lifestyle changes and other ideas to improve the next night’s sleep.
We were offered the opportunity to try out one of the more advanced sleep trackers that are currently available, the Beddit, and to write a review about it.
The Beddit looks quite simple and is comprised of a flexible band with a plastic box at one end that has a USB cable sticking out. Its looks are quite irrelevant since once you install it you won’t see it except for laundry days. It lays stuck directly on top of the mattress, hiding below the top sheet with the sticky side down so it doesn’t slide around. The USB cable plugs into a nearby wall outlet via a power adapter and that’s about all there’s to setting it up. Following a painless pairing procedure with an Android smartphone the Beddit was ready for some sleep.
We used the device for about two weeks with two users, one using an Android app and one with the latest iOS app that Beddit recently released.
The first immediate impression sleeping with it is that you can’t see it or feel the band through the sheet. You simply launch the app before going to bed, choose to set the smart alarm, and leave the phone nearby while you snooze away. The new Smart version of Beddit, paired with a compatible iPhone, doesn’t even need to you to launch the app to start measuring once you get in bed. It also works with the new Apple Watch.
The Beddit uses ballistocardiography, specifically measuring the slight changes in the flexing of the strip on top of the mattress, to detect the heart rate. The same approach works for the breathing rate and detecting movement and times when you get out of bed to take a wee.
The Beddit is impressively accurate as manual measurements of the heart rate have confirmed. The same can be said about movement and the times one gets out of bed. While we’ve seen non-contact vital sign measurement in the clinical world, it’s somehow a little spooky to see such accuracy in a consumer device costing a bit over $100.
In the morning, or after a nap, you check the app to see the overall sleep score that Beddit calculates (click on it to see the details), as well as the depth of your sleep and heart rate throughout the night. You also get an exact number in hours and minutes of actual sleep time. The breathing rate is provided, but only the overall average and how it compares to your typical results.
Those interested in knowing how much they really snore will be happy to know that the device uses the phone’s microphone, correlating it against the readings from the mattress strip, to recognize snoring and not confuse it with a passing garbage truck. You get to see how frequently and for how long the snoring occurred.
The app provides some basic suggestions of how to improve sleep quality based on the latest sleep readings. We feel that with such excellent data that portion of the app can use improvement, but also understand that Beddit isn’t technically a medical device that can’t provide diagnostics or health suggestions. Nevertheless, on that thought we can imagine that the ballistocardiography capabilities of the Beddit can probably detect certain arrhythmias as well as notice a suddenly stopped heart. Perhaps a smart alarm for your heart can one day be integrated to wake a spouse up that can call paramedics and perform CPR.
While we can hope for those advanced medical features, Beddit already offers significantly more impressive features than any sleep monitor we’ve seen. There’s nothing to wear, it’s out of sight, it doesn’t even touch you. It’s accurate while measuring parameters wrist worn devices and other movement based sleep trackers simply can’t. If you’re curious about your sleep, want to find out the details of the rest you really get, it’s hard to to better than the Beddit.
Product page: Beddit…