Editor’s note: we were provided with Beddit devices to test out, but the article remains my opinion.
To start talking about Beddit, Finnish sleep tracking device, you have to first talk about the hardware.
The mechanics of the whole operation work by laying a sensor ribbon, similar in size to a thick piece of tape, under your bedsheets or mattress. This fine-tuned sensor measures the force of your body against it, and Beddit’s algorithms are able to pick up heartbeats and your breathing rates from your body pounding against the sensor. The ribbon itself looks like a dumb piece of plastic, but Beddit CEO Lassi Leppäkorpi tells us that sensors like this are on the market that are sensitive enough to measure the photoacoustic pressure of light. The future is now if these types of sensors are now invading our beds.
Your breathing, heart rate, snoring, and sleep depth data is then accessible the next morning through the Beddit app, which connect to the sensor through Bluetooth. As a reminder to set the recording and to provide some smarter alarms, the Beddit app also works as your alarm clock, which is handy because it might wake you up a little before your alarm is supposed to go off if it feels like it’s the right point in your sleep cycle. This morning, for instance, I woke up a little bit early and Beddit threw on the alarm right there, figuring it’s not going to do my sleep any good to lay in bed 15 more minutes.
Beddit has now launched Beddit Family, which gives you a web-based option for check out the data for all the members of your “family”. Like Beddit’s app, Beddit Family doesn’t try to overload you with information, but it does calculate better averages of how you’ve been sleeping the past weeks. Scrolling through days it lets you hop between family members to see how they slept each night, with the same sleeping information as in the app.
As far as practical use goes, for my girlfriend and myself this just kills the “how did you sleep last night” question during breakfast. “Why don’t you look it up?” we passive aggressively ask each other over cold cereal. Ok that’s not the case, but if you’ve got sensors on both sides of your bed, it makes sense to bring that data together, and Beddit Family’s real use is also right there in the name. If you’ve got a kid that you’re worried whether they’re sleeping enough, Beddit Family would be a great tool to actually look into the numbers.
After first hearing about Beddit in the summer of 2013, I’ve been really wanting to see how the device actually works. So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised, and it’s made me much more conscious about how I sleep (which is a good thing).
When switching sensors between phones we’ve seen one pairing issue, which I fixed by re-installing the app, but so far it’s just worked as expected. If there’s anything to fix about the app and Beddit Family it would maybe be on the UI side – the first few nights left me with an uneasy feeling of wondering whether the device was actually paired to the right sensor and working, and I was a little in the dark about how to make sure the app works correctly, such as if it’s OK to navigate outside the app once I “start sleeping” to check email or something. A little more onboarding or an in-app FAQ wouldn’t be a bad thing.
The app makes it easy to understand how you slept by giving you a sleep score, which is broken down into categories like Amount of sleep, or Getting up from bed. Last night I lost three points for Sleep latency, which I had no idea what that means until Googling it right now (apparently it’s how fast you fall asleep). Beddit Family’s UI can be a little confusing at first too, to navigate outside of an individual night you have to “close” the night by hitting a red X in the corner. Luckily these are all minor tweaks, which will likely get better with more updates to the app and Beddit Family.
I’m not one of those “track everything” quantified self folks, but I still think this app is super cool for a casual sleeper like myself. It takes the same amount of time as turning on your phone’s alarm, and is an interesting enough device that it’s a fun conversation starter (something that shouldn’t matter for a device like this, but also really matters). Beddit clocks in at €149 in the EU, making a little more expensive than a sleep tracking app you place under your pillow, but it really unlocks the mystery of how you sleep.
Do you have a Beddit? We want to hear your thoughts on the device, let us know in the comments.