wearables, trackers, fitness

Better Sleep, a lesson from my favorite wearable

Getting better sleep is something every mattress company claims, but do they deliver?

Wearable technology is just about everywhere. Most days if you see me at the beach I am wearing the Apple Watch for it’s cool Dick Tracy capabilities. I can be in the water and not miss a text from a client. If your income depends on your phone, you should be wearing a Samsung or Apple Watch.

Before Apple Watch

Long before the Apple Watch I wore a Nike Fuel, a Fit Bit and a Jawbone Up!. The simplest and by far my favorite was the Jawbone. Since my brother was one of the programers on the core code of the Nike Fuel, it was of course the first wearable I bought. I didn’t even get a discount.

Once I discovered that the Nike Fuel was broadcasting my location, even though they said it was anonymous, I decided to get rid of it. I didn’t want to be a target on a run for my Nike Fuel. Next in line was the Jawbone Up!. The first versions weren’t waterproof so mine went bad within days. Seeing a FitBit on sale I grabbed one of those. For whatever reason I didn’t like the early FitBit and even though I only had the Jawbone for a few days there was something about it I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

The Big Lesson

I finally broke down and bought another Jawbone Up!. This one was water proof enough to surf, but as winter came and my wetsuits got thicker, it became too uncomfortable. After a couple of days sitting on my desk, I realized what I liked about the Jawbone Up!.

Leaving the Jawbone on the desk, I didn’t sleep as well as I did with it on. Even on days I didn’t need to get up, I would set a time and let the Jawbone Up! get me up. It somehow knew when I was in a light sleep up to 45 minutes before the time I wanted to get up. It would give a light buzz and I woke up rested. If I rolled over and went into a deep sleep and the alarm went off, I woke up groggy. This was true no matter how many hours I slept. I could sleep four or nine and with the Jawbone Up! I felt great, without it groggy.

After the Jawbone died, I searched high and low for a replacement. It turned out they had stopped making the Up! In desperation, I went to far as to buy some old stock online, they were cheap but the batteries died within months.. I had convinced friends who were long haul airline pilots to wear them too. We all missed our Up!’s and the great feeling of waking up at the right time.

I tried several other wearables, but none could match the accuracy for timing sleep like the Jawbone. There are even several iPhone and Apple Watch apps that claim to help with sleep, and none were as good as the Jawbone Up! so I gave up.

The Epiphany

Recently I woke up 40 minutes before my alarm was set to go off. I got up and started my day. I only had a touch over 4 hours of sleep, but I felt way better than I had with 9 hours of sack time the previous few days. Then it hit me. Jawbone taught me to wake up naturally and I just didn’t listen. Now when I set and alarm if I look at the clock and it is within one hour of my wakeup time I get up.

I sleep less, and feel better.

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