Nokia’s Sleep tracker is easy to use, but not much better than an app

Sleeping gadgets are more popular than ever. There are a lot of options available that promise to help you get a better night's sleep, from space-age sleeping masks to applications that use your phone's microphone and accelerometer to track sleep habits. The entry of Nokia Health in the arena of gadgets to sleep is a pad placed under your mattress, appropriately called Nokia Sleep. It promises to be more precise than simply using an application, thanks to a sensitive pressure sensor that uses the balistocardiography, a method that measures the presence and movement, the respiratory rate and heart rate. Naturally, everything you capture is recorded in an accompanying application.

The Nokia Sleep is a rectangular, Wi-Fi-enabled tablet that communicates with Nokia's Health Mate application on your phone. The configuration is fast and simple. Simply slide the pad under your mattress to the chest level, connect it and install the Nokia Sleep module through the Health Mate application. The application will guide you through some standard steps, such as creating an account, linking with Nokia Sleep and connecting it to your Wi-Fi. Then, calibrate and it's ready to work.

6.5
Verge Score

Good Stuff

  • Easy setup
  • Automatic tracking
  • Can connect to smart gadgets for home

Bad Stuff

  • ] Occasionally loses events
  • ] The application lacks basic features
  • It is not much better than a sleep-based application tracker

While sleeping, the sensor collects all kinds of data, giving you an easily digestible overview the next morning within the application Not only shows how long you slept, but it is broken down when you were in periods of light, deep sleep and REM. Measure how long you were in bed before falling asleep and also how long you stayed in bed after waking up. That, combined with a number of other details, such as your heart rate, the time you spend in restful sleep and the duration of sleep, combine to give you an overall score of the night, rated on a scale of 0-100. [19659014] What it measures is on par with what some applications of your phone currently claim to provide. Pillow for iOS, for example, uses sensors that are already on your phone or Apple Watch to track the stages and duration of sleep, heart rate and overall quality. Runtastic Sleep Better for Android also tracks the phases of light and deep sleep, and says it can measure the time you spend awake in bed. Personally, I am an avid user of Sleep Cycle, another application that uses a phone's sensors to track the quality of sleep and sleep stages. In particular, I like Sleep Cycle because it offers a variable alarm: instead of setting a particular schedule, a 30-minute window is designated. When the application detects that you are in a phase of light sleep during that stretch, it awakens you. In theory, this means that you are less disoriented when the alarm sounds, and I have discovered that this is the case when I use it. It is worth noting that while many swear by these sleep tracking applications, the veracity of their beneficial claims and accuracy has been debated.

At the same time, I used Sleep Cycle together with Nokia Sleep to compare the sensor results and found that the produced graphics often had similarities. Using both is also the way I found inaccuracies in the Nokia Sleep sensors. One weekend, I put an alarm on Sleep Cycle with the intention of going back to sleep. I woke up, I turned off the Dream Cycle at 7 AM and fell asleep again. The Nokia Sleep sensor did not detect it, and showed no interruption in sleep at that time.


  Sleep Cycle vs Nokia Sleep

Sleep Cycle on the right, Nokia Sleep on the left that same night

In fact, Nokia the sensor often failed in this particular area: detect if I woke up and went back to sleep. Most of the time, if I woke up in the middle of the night to take a drink of water, the Nokia Sleep did not register it, which showed that I had an uninterrupted night. Meanwhile, the Sleep Cycle application would take these things (maybe because using the phone's microphone, it's easy to record the jingle of a glass).

The Nokia Sleep can also take advantage of some IFTTT applets, but this range is limited. There are 10 of them in total, who can do things like set up a Hue scene when they get out of bed in the morning, or track their sleeping habits in a Google spreadsheet. Unfortunately, there were several that I wanted to try, but I could not. Silencing my phone when I enter the bed sounds useful, but that does not work with my iPhone, only with Android. I would totally use Nokia Sleep to automate the temperature of my room, but I have an Ecobee, not Nest.

These restrictions are frustrating and mean you can not get the most out of your Nokia Sleep unless you have a specific set of products already integrated into your life. I was able to set my Hue lights to turn off automatically when I got into bed, but since I usually like to read a bit before going to sleep, I eventually disabled this. The Nokia Sleep also works with Amazon Echo, and you can add the Nokia Health Mate skill to ask how you slept last night. I have an Echo, and I tried it a couple of times, but I also abandoned it. I just prefer to see the data in the application.

A flagrant omission of Nokia The dream is an alarm clock function. This is a device focused on sleep. At the very least, there should be the option of a basic alarm. The absence of one practically nullifies the concept that Nokia Sleep is a "configure it and forget it" device, especially when 85 percent of people use an alarm clock to wake up to work, and some surveys say that 48 percent of the 16-year-olds – 34 use their phone as that alarm clock. Beyond the practicality of an alarm, the way we wake up is an important part of the quality of sleep and mood for the day, and should be a consideration in Nokia Sleep. I would have loved a variable alarm function, like the one I use in Sleep Cycle. Going even further, since Nokia Sleep is paired with Hue lights, why not an IFTTT applet to use Hue as a sunrise light alarm? Hello!

Nokia has absolutely the means to integrate an alarm. Its health division is the result of an acquisition of Withings, which used to have a product called Aura. A combination of a sleep sensor and a night unit, Aura traced the dream and acted as an "intelligent wake-up" using the methods mentioned above such as variable wake-up time and a light source. Nokia Health also currently has a variable and vibrant alarm clock feature in its Steel HR activity tracking watch, so it may just be a business that leaves an option to buy more. Also, do you know what the integration of an alarm would solve? Some of the sensor dropouts mentioned above and the ability to control and discourage morning sleep, which can ruin all day.

If you're trying to adjust your sleep habits, the Health Mate app has some great reminders that you can remember. Start up to eliminate unpleasant patterns. There is one that will ask you to have a cup of tea 20 minutes before your usual bedtime. Another will tell you to drink a glass of water in the afternoon instead of something with caffeine. You can choose which days have the reminders and select the time. On the negative side, there is no way to take notes within the application, something fundamentally useful for tracking what affects your sleep.

One part of the application that I could not fully explore is an acceptance program called Sleep Smarter. Nokia says it worked with sleep experts to develop the eight-week program, which takes note of their habits and provides suggestions that should lead to a better night's sleep. One of the markers he uses is the "social jet lag", which is how much his sleep schedules differ between week nights and weekends. A sample screenshot of the program shows some of the basic comments it offers, recommending a user to commit to regular exercise to fall asleep faster.





Image: Nokia Health

Ultimately, Nokia says the Sleep Smarter program can increase your average sleep by 12 minutes per night. That does not sound like much, but Nathaniel Watson, a professor of neurology at the University of Washington and a member of the advisory board of SleepScore Labs, a company that measures science around sleep, tells The Verge that every minute counts . "Sleeping even 10 to 15 minutes less than you need regularly can contribute to the loss of debt that can lead to health and performance problems," says Watson. "Sleep deprivation is the most common cause of sleepiness in our society, so every increase in sleep to the point that the individual is satisfied with sleep is important." If I had to take an additional 12 minutes each night, it would add up to an extra six hours of sleep per month. Therefore, it does not seem like much, but with time, it helps.

At the end of the day, is it worth the Nokia Sleep price for $ 99? That is hard to say. Recently, Nokia sold its Digital Health business to the Withings co-founder, leaving the future of those products with a little questioning. A representative from Nokia's Digital Health division says that Nokia will continue to fulfill its obligations to customers with Digital Health products and that Nokia Sleep, along with all other products in the line, will remain compatible and receive financial support through Nokia. Withings. But they will not commit to how long that support really will last.

Also, consider that many of the things that Nokia Sleep can already find tracked by free apps. Although an application will not register with the same degree of accuracy, I discovered that the Nokia Sleep sensor was not perfect either. And, although the Health Mate application has some bonuses that I have not seen in comparable free applications, like reminders, its shortcomings are remarkable. Of course, it shows you the data it collects, but it does not allow you to add personal notes or offer many significant points of view, unless, presumably, it is within a few weeks of the Sleep Smarter program (and even then it is scarce).

All this could ultimately justify for the right person, especially with intelligent domestic connectivity. The application is an optimized experience, and the reminders were useful to me. But my turning point is the lack of an alarm clock in a device created exclusively to track and improve sleep. Even with all the automatic functionality built into the Nokia Sleep, you still have to use the alarm you prefer, which is even more frustrating knowing that this is something that Nokia could have … done while sleeping.

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