I have to confess to being a sleep junkie. I have repetitive stress injuries from hitting the snooze button one time too many.
So when the people over at Innovative Sleep Solutions asked me to test drive their Sleeptracker digital wristwatch ($149 online), I wondered how well it would do in getting my head off the pillow.
Wearing a watch to bed is a lot less daunting than using the SleepSmart device from Axon Sleep Research Laboratories, which requires that you wear a headband that monitors your brain waves.
The Sleeptracker watch has sensors that monitor the wearer's sleep patterns to detect the best possible wake-up times. The idea is that people will feel more refreshed if they wake from a light sleep at 7:10 a.m. than from a deep sleep at 7:30 a.m. The watch also records how much quality sleep you are getting so you can review your sleep stats in the morning.
The idea of getting up before the alarm goes off panics me, as I feel cheated that I didn't get my full sleep time in. Generally, I forego getting up when the alarm sounds and risk oversleeping.
I tried out the Sleeptracker for a week along with my clock radio as a backup.
First off, I am a very deep sleeper (I have been known for sleeping through the sounds of a passing fire truck). So I only heard the watch alarm on two out of five days of testing. My wife heard the watch alarm more than I did, and she said she had to nudge me a couple of times to wake me up.
Second, I was a little suspect of the concept. You tell the watch what time you usually go to bed, then you choose up to a 30-minute window when you want the watch to look for that window of opportunity to wake you. It seems, however, that you are always getting woken up 10 to 20 minutes earlier than you'd like.
By the final night, I was able to feel comfortable using the watch. I woke up earlier than the clock radio alarm three out of five days. But being a creature of habit, I took the watch off and rolled over back into bed.
End result: I still love my snooze button, but I might recommend this to someone like my wife, who's attuned to waking up by just the slightest sound.