GEAR4 RENEW SLEEPCLOCK
Gear4, $299 harveynorman.com.au ★★★★
FITNESS gadgets can tackle the final health frontier — sleep. They can tell you how much deep sleep you’ve had, how many times you’ve tossed and turned, and whether or not you’re truly well rested.
But there’s a catch: you must wear them on your wrist, clipped on your pyjamas or strapped to your forehead in a way that can interrupt the sleep they monitor.
Gear4’s sleep-watching gadget gets around this hurdle with some truly advanced technology. It uses radiowaves to measure your movements and breathing. You simply need to sleep near it.
The Renew SleepClock looks like any modern alarm clock. An LCD screen shows the time, a panel of buttons let you program alarms, play music or scan for FM radio stations, and a well-designed dock even accommodates cased iPods.
Plug in an iPhone and you don’t have to set the time on this clock radio — it steals details from the phone.
Docking an Apple gadget also triggers a request to download a Renew SleepClock app. It’s this free app that lets you play music from your iPhone, set alarms and inspect sleep records.
To use the SleepClock’s monitoring skills, you must position it carefully. The clock should be placed on a bedside table about 15cm above the bed and up to 1.5m away from your sleeping position. It should also be pointed at your top half so it can monitor your movements.
To start monitoring sleep, users open the app’s Wake Up tab and tap the Go To Sleep icon. If the clock is positioned correctly, the app will show off movements in a graph that looks like a sound recording.
This unique alarm clock works by emitting a lowpowered radio frequency to measure two things: a low amplitude signal monitors your breathing and a high amplitude signal monitors body movements. Breathe quickly and it will assume you’ve woken up, for example. When you do wake, and tap the I’ve Slept Enough icon, the app will deliver your sleep score and a graph showing how long you slept, how long it took you to fall asleep, how much deep sleep you had, and how many interruptions you registered.
The app also features a journal to log factors that may have affected your sleep, so you can improve future sleep scores. It’s also a handy guide to what you do with the unconscious third of your life.
Even handier, perhaps, is the SleepClock’s alarm.
Users can set a time window in which to be woken and the device will determine when you are most awake during that period.
The app also features a large alarm sound library, from birds to rain to the sound of the Australian rainforest, to wake you up in a gentle fashion. These can take a while to adjust to, when you’re used to a violent alert tone, but are highly preferable.
On the downside, the Renew SleepClock will work only for Apple gadget users — no Google Android fans can apply — and its sleep-monitoring is not as detailed as devices like the Zeo Sleep Manager Pro that registers rapid-eye movement too.
For ease of use, basic sleep statistics and a gentle start to the day, this Gear4 gadget deserves attention . . . even while you nap.
Advanced: The Renew SleepClock monitor doesn’t have to be attached.