I had a horrible sleep last night -- or, I should say, a night of horrible sleeplessness. I tossed and turned for hours (so if any of this blog rambles into incoherency, please excuse me). I could really use some sleep analysis to help me figure out why.
I woke a couple of hours after falling asleep, feeling a bit off but not knowing why. I'd gone to dinner with some friends. Did my unusual meal affect my digestive patterns? Was my brain still busy processing the conversational tidbits I'd heard? Or were environmental factors in play -- the breeze too chilly, the humidity too high, an ambulance wailing in the distance?
If I had Sense, I'd be able to analyze my sleep and perhaps get the insight I need to sleep more peacefully tonight. (That is Sense, with a capital S, and not a sleep-deprived typo.)
The Sense system will do three things, startup Hello, its developer, says: It tracks your sleep behavior, monitors the environment in your bedroom, and reinvents the alarm. It comprises three elements, as described on the Hello website and on the company's Kickstarter page:
- Sense, a small orb -- glowing when in use -- sits on your nightstand and monitors the conditions in your bedroom and disturbances at night, including noise, light, temperature, humidity, and air particles. Sense contains a speaker for playing white noise or other calming sounds, and features Smart Alarm, which Hello said can "wake you up in the morning at the right point in your sleep cycle, to avoid that groggy feeling we all hate so much."
- Sleep Pill, a sleep tracking sensor that clips to your pillow. If you have a sleep partner, the system distinguishes between the sleep patterns picked up from each Sleep Pill.
- A mobile app that "tells you how well you slept, or didn't, by giving you a unique Sleep Score each night." One hundred is the high, analyzed from data collected from your bedroom and transmitted over SSL links to Hello servers in the Amazon cloud.
The analytics and insight, of course, come to life in that mobile app, through which you can see how external factors correlate to sleep interruptions. In my case, I'm thinking I'd now have solid evidence to show my young adult children, "See, you may have thought you were all quiet as mice when you slipped into the house last night, but my Sleep Score shows otherwise. So don't complain to me how cranky I am today!"
Given the reception Sense has gotten on Kickstarter, I can see I'm not the only one in need of sleep analytics. The funding project launched a week ago today, on July 23. In the time it took me to write this blog, I saw the backer counter rise from 10,510 to 10,531 and the funding move from $1,321,664 to $1,324,089 -- far more than the $100,000 desired. Sense, it seems, will be able to meet its goal of having initial units ready to ship by November.
I haven't backed Sense yet, but I'm tempted. Like I said, I'd love solid evidence on what's disturbing my sleep, outside the obvious, as I'm not an easy sleeper in general. I think it's a cool idea, and can prove enlightening. Maybe I'd plunk down a dollar to help development, but I don't know that I'd ever really buy the system. That's because, if I really think about it, the value of Sense may be lost on me and I may end up paying for what amounts to nothing more than a jazzy alarm clock.
I could see an initial fascination with the data and drawing correlations from it. But I suspect making Sense really useful requires more time and effort than I'd have the energy to devote. Say I notice a link between high pollen count and a restless night. Then what? If pollen count is supposed to be high again, I should shut my windows and turn on the A/C. Then I should compare the two nights of sleep, but I'd have to take other variables from each night into consideration. Sounds more complicated -- and more expensive at $99 for one Sense and one Sleep Pill or $129 for one Sense and two Sleep Pills -- than buying some Tylenol Simply Sleep.
I'll have to give this some more thought, but hopefully not in the deep of the night! What do you think about it?
— Beth Schultz, Editor in Chief, AllAnalytics.com