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Sense: The Next Level of Sleep Tracking

I love sleep. I mean who doesn’t? There’s nothing worse than a bad nights sleep. In attempt to minimise these, or at least get some insight into why they might be happening, I recently picked up a Sense by Hello. Started via Kickstarter, Sense received over $2.41 million in orders in just the first month. From my limited time with it, it’s clear to see why.

Before trying Sense, I used the app that first grabbed my attention for sleep tracking, Sleep Cycle - currently free on the App Store at the time of writing. Sleep Cycle boasted being able to wake you up feeling more refreshed, by detecting how deep you are in your sleep by using the accelerometer in your iPhone. The app would analyse your sleep, and wake you up within 30 minutes of a chosen time, while you were at the lightest part of your sleep. Where this was good, the app left me wanting more, I wanted to see at what time I was sleeping best and what was waking me up during the night. Well, enter Sense.

Where Sense has a companion app, it also has a stand alone unit. This unit, is beautiful in itself, and beauty is something that resonates throughout the Sense experience.

Sense sleep timeline in action, next to the Sense orb

Sitting unobtrusively on your bedside table, Sense is equipped with a huge array of sensors, capable of telling you the light level, noise level, temperature, humidity and the air quality of your bedroom. All of these variables are automatically graphed by the Sense app, allowing you to monitor how they change over time. Noise is particularly useful here, especially if you live in a city centre like me. It highlights noise events during the night, which may offer insight into what’s waking you up.

All of the above happens within the companion app. The app also gives you detailed feedback on how your sleep was, and gives you the opportunity to tell it how your sleep was. By doing this, the Sense app can learn your optimum conditions, and alert you when your bedroom begins to stray away from these.

Sense looks at home in your bedroom.

Perhaps the best feature, is the ability to go into any of your previous night’s sleep, and see how it was. Sense awards your a sleep score out of 100 per night, meaning you can easily compare nights with one another. In the single night view, Sense shows how you slept with sleek, elegant blue bars for depth in a fluid timeline, with events noted by the side. For example, Sense will tell you the time the lights went out in your room, the time you fell asleep, and the time of any disruptive events during the night. This level of detail simply can’t be obtained in competitor stand alone apps like Sleep Cycle.

As well as single night views, Sense also offers weekly, monthly and even quarterly overviews - once again providing useful statistics. Sense provides you with percentage totals for time spent in light, medium and deep sleep, as well as the average time you sleep on a weekday compared with a weekend. The level of care, detail and precision that has gone into Sense is truly remarkable.

The Dynamic Duo: Sense Orb and Sleep Pill

The only issue that I have with it, is how it senses you are asleep. Like Sleep Cycle - unfortunately to my knowledge this is the only way to do it - it is by motion, detected via the Sleep Pill that works along side the main sensor, when attached to your pillow. However, I share a house with my friend, and therefore, spend a lot of time in my room. If I’m watching TV or playing Playstation, I like to lie on my bed. As a result of this, Sense thinks I’m asleep at 8PM, when really, I’m awake doing something or other, just not moving a lot. For me, it would be useful if the app implemented a feature where Sense only starts tracking your sleep once you set an alarm, or tell it you're going to bed.

Overall, I’m hugely impressed by Sense. You currently can’t order one to the UK, the only reason I have mine is through eBay. However, if you in the US, you can order from here, don’t let the price put you off. I’ve been told that international shipping is coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re looking to improve your sleep, and add a really cool device to your home.