I also think that more than diet, more than exercise, sleep is probably the single most important major lifestyle determinant in wellness and human performance. How much and how well people sleep seems to have massive effects on body fat, cancer rate, athletic performance, cognitive performance, and more. Additionally, I find sleep results harder to modify and optimize than either diet or exercise. While diet and exercise are largely an issue of good decision making, commitment, and time management, I find that I often do all the "right things" when it comes to sleep and not get a great result. I try to go to bed shortly after sunset, sleep in a nearly pitch-black room, avoid late afternoon caffeine, do relaxation exercises, and basically everything that is thought to achieve a good sleep result, but my results are still inconsistent.
Enter the Beddit (www.beddit.com), which promises to "automatically tracks your sleeping patterns, heart rate, breathing, snoring, movements and environment. In the morning, Beddit tells you how you slept and how to do it better."
After hearing that pitch, this was me:
The Beddit consists mostly of a strap containing a sensor that goes underneath your bedsheet. It connects via Bluetooth to your smartphone and gives you results that look like this:
There's even more data promised in future versions.
This is the kind of shit that I love. The only small problem? It doesn't work.
To date, the Beddit is largely giving me garbage data. According to the Beddit, I haven't slept over 5 hours a single night that I've gotten it, and most nights it's said I've only slept 2-3 hours. I will be the first to admit that I don't get enough sleep, but after one night of just 2-3 hours I'm usually useless, and after a week of it I'd probably be approaching death. The Beddit is recording large gaps in my sleep during hours that I know I was definitely asleep.
Part of the problem may be the length of the Beddit strap. I have a queen-sized bed, and the strap covers less than half of my bed. That means if I roll over on to a part of the bed that the strap isn't sensing, then I'm not getting tracked for that sleep. On one particular night, the Beddit told me that I got up from bed 7 times, when I actually got up from bed once or twice, at most. I think increasing the strap length will help, but I do not think that is the only source of the Beddit's problems at this point, since even when I sleep through the night and wake up on the same side of the bed, my sleep is being dramatically underreported.
I've contacted Beddit support, and they've been fairly slow to respond. This is not too surprising considering that they're an indie company who probably weren't ready to handle the amount of business that they got. I'm happy to be an early adopter of this item and in spite of the fact that the product is currently unsatisfactory, I'll be happy that they got my money as long as that money goes towards product improvements. I want to support a company that comes up with good ideas like this, and I hope they are able to deliver on it. As someone who works in a startup that simultaneously seems to "get it", also desperately needs some major product improvements, I think I'm more sympathetic to this idea than anyone.
I'm continuing correspondence with Beddit support and will update this review if information changes (it's possible I just got a lemon, for example). But the bottom line is this: I think at this point unless you also want the good karma of supporting a sleep app, you should probably pass on the Beddit for now.
But like some might say about my company, I'll be cheering for them.