WakeMate Turns Your iPhone Into an Actigraph for Monitoring Sleep

If you’re looking to achieve a better night’s sleep, there are various aids available. The App Store has been ripe with apps that help wake you up at the optimum time during your sleep cycle. The pitfall with some apps is you need to sleep with your iPhone underneath your pillow, which isn’t exactly the safest thing to do longterm.

That’s where the WakeMate comes in. It not only consists of an app, but there’s a wristband you wear while you sleep. I’ve been testing out the WakeMate for the past while, and here are my thoughts on how it works. The wristband utilizes a clinically proven science, Actigraphy, to monitor wrist movement to be then uploaded and analyzed.

Setting Up the WakeMate

After downloading the free WakeMate app, it pairs with the fleece-lined wristband via Bluetooth. There’s an elastic piece that stretches, but I found the size to be too tight as the electronic unit dug into my wrist. Turning the band inside out solved this, but according to WakeMate, ‘large’ size wristbands are coming.

You need to setup an online account at WakeMate.com, pair the band to your phone, then choose your alarm time. You will be woken up within 20 minute window (customizable) and there are various tones you can choose to wake up to, and even songs from your iTunes library.

So here I am, setting up the WakeMate before bed, hoping that it will wake me up at the ‘optimum’ time as promised. Once you set the alarm, Bluetooth turns off. The wristband tracks your sleep cycle and saves data, uploading data the next time you connect the device.

In the morning the alarm sounds at the ‘optimum time’, and I wake up. Do I feel refreshed compared to normal? Maybe slightly, but waking up is never fun if you’re a morning person. I did like how the WakeMate tracks every detail of your sleep though:

So did the Wakemate help improve my sleep? On some days I did wake up feeling less tired than usual due to being woken up at an ‘optimum time’, but at the end of the day I think it was just too much work to setup the device before going to bed.

When you’re exhausted, you want to just dive under the covers. You don’t want to have to setup a device on your wrist. That’s me, however you might be different. Although the concept is really neat, I feel the quality of the wristband could improve.

If you want to check out the Wakemate, it retails for $59. You can check it out here.

 

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Anonymous

    Scientifically I don’t see how this makes much sense. Sure, waking you up during a Non-REM part of sleep will make you feel less “out of it” than if you were awoken during REM, but it has nothing to do with actual rest. Perhaps the short term after getting up might make you feel less drowsy, sometimes. Then there’s always the placebo effect for a device like this. Seems like it’s a nice alarm app for that.

  • Anonymous

    Scientifically I don’t see how this makes much sense. Sure, waking you up during a Non-REM part of sleep will make you feel less “out of it” than if you were awoken during REM, but it has nothing to do with actual rest. Perhaps the short term after getting up might make you feel less drowsy, sometimes. Then there’s always the placebo effect for a device like this. Seems like it’s a nice alarm app for that.

  • JP

    Try Sleep Cycle alarm clock. Does the same, light setup, no wristband, $1… It uses the phone accelerometer. Works well, though I mostly use it to monitor my sleep than for the “optimum” wake up time.

  • Anonymous

    After having one since May 2011 I basically stopped using it by some time in July. I didn’t find it did anything to improve my sleep or make me feel more refreshed upon waking up. If anything, all it really did was go off the moment you move your arm once you enter the alarm window.

    Not something I would recommend. The quality of the product is poor and you certainly don’t receive something that looks like it costs $60. Their customer service is appalling and basically non-existent. Emails to them can go days or weeks without a response and their Twitter feed is basically nothing but a stream of apologies and promises to “respond soon”. Their online support that is supposedly available during business hours is offline 24×7 and their blog linked from their website has been offline for months.

    Avoid these guys and look at something more complete like the Jawbone Up.

    PS: I’ve tried Sleep Cycle and it works OK as an alarm but it’s a bit of a pain having to stick the phone under your bed-sheet every night.