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I've been using the Beddit Sleep Monitor Classic. This $119 (£75, AU$160) sensor is placed directly on top of my mattress and is able to analyze my sleep at night. There's no wristband or wearable of any sort: the Beddit is completely wireless.
Yes, its tracking abilities are quite impressive, but after a month of use I'm still left unsatisfied. The Beddit can record a large amount of data, but a few sensor and measurement problems made me realize it's not for me -- and probably not for you.
There are two Beddit products: the $150 Sleep Monitor Smart, and the $119 Sleep Monitor Classic. They look identical and function the same way, relying on a small pressure sensor that lays between your sheet and mattress. The one difference is that the Smart version can automatically track your sleep, while the Classic model must manually be put in sleep mode each night. I used the non-automatic, less-expensive Classic.
The Beddit sensor is about the same size and thickness as a piece of duct tape, but it can do more than your average Fitbit or Jawbone. It's capable of measuring total sleep time, resting heart rate, respiration rate, how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you got up, and the amount of deep sleep achieved.
The Beddit pairs to your iPhone or Android device over Bluetooth, and an in-app button on your phone can start or end sleep tracking. The Beddit can also monitor snoring, but it uses the microphone on your smartphone to listen.
Sleeping with the Beddit didn't deliver the enjoyable experience I had expected. Between false and inconsistent readings, I also had an issue with creases on the sensor. A simple Google search revealed that this appears to be a common problem.
Installing Beddit is incredibly easy at first. You remove the adhesive tape on the back of the sensor, lay it across your bed, then plug it into the wall outlet. I used the the sensor for the past month and found that the adhesive can begin to lose its hold. A piece of double-sided tape fixes this issue.
A more challenging problem was finding the right position for the sensor to avoid false data recordings. Beddit recommends if you're sleeping with someone to leave at least a six-inch gap between the two of you to avoid false recordings. So much for cuddling.
When it's time for bed, you have to enable sleep mode through the mobile app. It takes seconds, but you have to remember to do it before bed, and then turn it off in the morning. I've forgotten to either turn it on or shut it off a number of times now. The automatic Smart model fixes this, but it's really frustrating with the version I tested.
I also tossed and turned during my first night with the Beddit, mostly because the sensor creased. I felt like I could feel the strip's slight creases through my mattress cover and sheet as I slept, and it drove me crazy for almost an hour. The instructions recommend flattening the sensor on a desk or under a pile of books: I did this for two days to ensure it would be as flat as could be, but the creases remained. I got used to it after a while, but it's a little weird.
Then there were the sensor issues. I got up for a bathroom break around 4 a.m., but this wasn't recorded by Beddit because my girlfriend had rolled over to my side of the bed and onto the sensor. This is the fundamental problem with the Beddit system: it doesn't work for cuddlers and restless sleepers.
On the nights that I didn't roll away from the sensor or have my partner roll onto my side, I found accuracy to be quite good compared to popular wrist trackers like the Jawbone Up2 and Fitbit Charge HR . Wrist trackers I've used tend to be too generous recording total sleep time. The Beddit was the only one that could tell the difference between laying awake in bed and rolling over in my sleep.
The Beddit mobile app is fairly detailed. Each morning I was greeted with a sleep score based on how well I slept the night before. Things like restless sleep, snoring and getting out of bed take away from the total score. There are also charts that show your sleep activity and different heart-rate levels throughout the night.
Below the score sit bullet-point summaries of your sleep, with tips and smart coaching. I was informed that my sleep duration has varied significantly between an hour and six minutes as of late. Another bullet point noted that I recently had "good" sleep efficiency of around 82 percent, but it was taking me a fairly long time to fall asleep.
It's impressive how much the Beddit can record, and I enjoyed being able to view all of this data. But the coaching didn't feel personalized enough: I frequently received tips on how to prevent snoring, even though no snoring was detected the night before.
Others tips seemed too generic -- avoid blue light before bed, try to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night, keep your bedroom peaceful. The Beddit is capable of recording all of this data, yet it seemed incapable of telling me useful ways to truly improve my sleep.
The iPhone app was recently updated to version 2.0. It was largely a cosmetic change, but it definitely made the app more appealing. Unfortunately, that update has yet to arrive on Android, although the company has promised it is in the works.
The Beddit is easy to use and provides accurate sleep tracking when it works, but that's the problem: it's too finicky. Those who share a bed will find that data can be easily skewed by your partner's presence. Even restless sleepers that want to know more about their habits should think twice.
While it can collect a large amount of information, the Beddit doesn't feel like it would be worth it for anyone except single, still sleepers. The $100 Jawbone Up2 is good enough, easy to use, and gives better coaching feedback. It may not be quite as accurate, but you don't need to coddle it... and you get an all-day activity tracker, too.