Brain-wave reading headband? Check. Alarm clock that knows when to wake you? Check. Wife claiming your are now “more pleasant in the morning” . . . well, two out of three ain’t bad.
Whether you are in constant training for athletic events or simply looking to have a more restful night’s sleep, the Zeo Sleep Coach is a strange new product that may just help you gain an edge.
What does it do? In short, the Zeo Sleep Coach allows you to track your sleep stages so you can figure out what you need to do to better rejuvenate during rest.
The science behind the Zeo is that with the aid of a semi-unobtrusive headband monitor, the device can “read your brain waves” and log the amount of time in each stage of sleep — awake, REM, light, and deep sleep included. Once you have accumulated data from seven nights’ rest, you connect the included SD card to your computer and it will assess the ups and downs of your sleep habits.
Then the “sleep coaching” begins. A web-based software program assesses your sleep patterns and gives advice. In my test, some of the advice was pretty common sense, such as “try not to go to bed tense,” and “don’t fall asleep in front of the TV.” No caffeine right before bed was noted.
But then there are little bits of information that you might not consider, including good and bad foods for sleep. The program teaches that the process of getting to bed should be looked at as a decompression and relaxing period to guide your body into the sleep state.
I tested the Zeo system out for a few weeks this year. With the “coaching,” I was more cognizant of my sleep routine. Overall, I was pleased with the results, which ranged from waking more refreshed and ready for the day to less of a need for a caffeine boost. I felt more focus and drive during daily activities. And — the kicker! — according to my wife, I was in a “much better mood” some of the time.
The cost starts at $249 for the device and a coaching program. It is a pricey program, but maybe worth the money for serious athletes and anyone who struggles with sleep.
Overall, the Zeo’s “coaching” is more of a nudge in the right direction toward your goal of better, more restful sleep. There is no electric shock built in, only the gentle email nudges filled with suggestions on how to become more Zen about sleep.
From what I can tell, the Zeo program is a gentle reminder to relax and slow down. That’s the main message. The bonus is that it can aid you in gently reprogramming your routine and habits to get a better night’s sleep.
Personally, the worst part of my nightly slumber prior to the Zeo was my screeching alarm clock buzz every morning. It has now been replaced with the Zeo device’s soothing sounds. My favorite is the rainforest-theme alarm, which is complete with chirping birds and running water.
Word of caution: those of you with tiny bladders should steer clear of the running water sounds. Rude awakening is a phrase that comes to mind. www.myzeo.com
—Steve Hitchcock is a Colorado-based writer, teacher, organic farmer, and outdoors guide. He blogs at www.UpaDowna.com.