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zeo alarm clock

Sleep is extremely important to get, right? I think we can all agree on that. But how do you know if you’re sleeping well or not? I mean, you’re asleep, what are you going to do?

That’s where the Zeo Sleep Manager comes in – it’s a fancy device ($300 fancy) that measures your sleep quality for you!

Actually, it measures both your sleep quality and sleep quantity. All in the comfort of your own home. (Your own bed, too.) You just sleep like normal and let it do all the work!

I don’t have major sleep issues. I don’t snore, and I usually sleep through the night without issue.

But there are definitely times when stress and anxiety keep me up at night, or wake me up way too early. It’s like I can sleep fine… if I let myself.

Regardless, I love testing and tracking everything, so the idea of a device that tracks my sleep and presents me with an analysis, is super cool!

How does it work?

There are two parts to the Zeo: a headband to monitor your brain waves, and an alarm clock.

The headband has these neat little sensors that record all types of brain activity data and transmit it wirelessly to the alarm clock in real-time. It’s like getting an EEG.

There’s an SD card included, along with a card reader, so you can save data and transfer it over to your computer for long-term storage and deeper analysis.

I plugged it all in and set the clock time before even opening the manual.

It seems fairly straightforward – you put on the headband, go to sleep, wake up, and replace the headband onto the charging dock (which is part of the alarm clock.)

The Zeo does the rest, presenting you with a ZQ score.

I have no idea how they calculate it, but it’s a relative measure of how well you slept that night. It allows you to compare one night to the next. Most nights I get in the 80’s or 90’s; occasionally I’ll have a terrible night in the 50’s or 60’s, and once I had a stellar night of sleep and got a ZQ of 116.

zeo alarm clock

The alarm clock uses something called the SmartWake feature, and it’s the best thing to happen to alarm clocks since the snooze button!

When using the SmartWake feature (you can use the Zeo as a regular alarm clock if you’re lame,) you need to set two times. First, set the absolute latest time for the alarm to go off. Second, choose a window of time in which you wouldn’t mind waking up before that time. The default, which I have stuck with, is 30 minutes.

Now, you remember how the Zeo is tracking your sleep quality in real time? By doing this, it can tell when you’re in a light sleep where it would be easy to wake up.

So, if it’s within 30 minutes of your desired wakeup time, and you get to a point where your body will wake up easily, the alarm will go off. Neat, huh?

I’ve been using this feature and it’s awesome! Occasionally the alarm jolts me awake at the latest time I set, but most often, I awaken gently from a light sleep and I’m ready to start the day!

My productivity has also increased! Not only do I get a few extra minutes in the morning on the days I wake up earlier than necessary, I am functional as soon as I get up. I don’t have to get through that “haven’t had my coffee yet” brain fog!

zeo alarm clock

Why would you want to use such a device?

I see three main reasons you might want to use a Zeo of your own:

1. You have sleep problems and want to find out why.

This is the most obvious reason. If you have some type of sleep issue, or you’re always tired and don’t know why, seeing a graph of how you sleep at night could be enlightening. (I’m not a doctor though, so I don’t know if you can even attempt to diagnose anything, but it would be interesting nonetheless.)

2. You want to wake up feeling refreshed in the morning

I never thought about this reason till after I experienced the magic of the SmartWake function. Now, on days where I need an alarm clock, I always use the Zeo. It’s so cool to wake up earlier than planned and somehow I’m awake and feel great!

3. You want to figure out what you can do to improve your sleep (and thus your athletic performance.)

Not surprisingly, this is the reason I got excited about the Zeo! You can only train so much, so I’m always looking for ways to improve my performance in addition to the standard training workload.

If you were to improve your sleep, that would improve your recovery time, and that would allow you to train harder. Winning!

So I started keeping a sleep journal that allows me to compare what I do each day (as recorded in the journal) in terms of resultant sleep quality (as calculated in my ZQ.)

I’d recommend you keep a sleep journal too…

What I’m tracking in my sleep journal.

As with my training logs, I record as much data as possible. Here are a few examples:

  • What time I went to bed.
  • What I did in the hours preceding bed.
  • Attempted sleeping position (back, side, stomach.)
  • Caffeine intake for the day.
  • Any supplements or sleep aids I’m testing.
  • The bed/house/city I’m sleeping in.
  • Stress level (and why.)
  • Temperature and weather conditions.
  • Clothing (pajamas, boxers, nude, etc..)

I’ll track everything I can, and I’ll try to draw some correlations between my habits and my best nights of sleep.

Not surprisingly, a relaxing evening of reading and lying down early results in a good ZQ. If I stay up late watching TV and get off my typical schedule, I can expect a low score (and to feel like crap the next day.)

What’s wrong with the Zeo?

This device is freaking cool, but it’s not perfect. During my testing, I encountered a few minor issues… and one major one.

The headband is comfortable, but leaves red marks on your forehead.

My biggest concern was that I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep with the headband on. Well, that turned out to be a non-issue. It was easy to sleep with the headband on, even if I chose to sleep on my stomach. It’s surprisingly unobtrusive.

But after removing the headband, I’m left with large red marks on my forehead! And they last for hours! It’s not painful, but it’s something to be aware of, especially if you have a job where people will be looking at your forehead early in the day.

The headband might fall off.

This seemed like a minor problem when it first happened. Then it happened again, even though I tightened the strap quite a bit! Not only does this mean the headband can’t record your sleep and give you an accurate ZQ, it can’t use the SmartWake alarm!

You’re supposed to replace the headband every 90 days.

The sensors only last so long before they need replaced. And if you forget, the headband will remind you… by loosening up and falling off at night.

The company shut down!

Yeah, sort of a MAJOR problem here!

A couple years ago, you used to be able to upload your sleep data to the MyZeo website for much deeper analysis than you get from looking at the device. And there was an interactive myZeo community. Now, that’s all gone.

If you want to analyze your recorded data, you have to run it through some type of decryption program first. Or hack the firmware. Or… find someone with a Computer Science background!

On top of that, remember how I said you need to replace the headband occasionally? Good luck with that! You have to make your own replacement headbands since they’re no longer made.

zeo alarm clock

My final verdict is…

This is a 5-star product, I just don’t know that I would have ever paid $300 for it. That’s quite a bit of money. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter either way – with the company having shut down, there’s no way I can recommend that you purchase one.

I will say, though, if you have any sleep issues, I recommend doing something to track/record your sleep patterns. I’m just not sure which product I can recommend (since there’s nothing quite like the Zeo.)

Official website: www.MyZeo.com

Buy online: www.Amazon.com

Product Review Details
Company: Zeo
Product: Zeo Sleep Manager
Reviewed by: Coach Levi
My Rating: 4.0 out of 5
Date last updated: 2014-05-31
Obtained Product: Gift from friend.
CoachLevi.com Advertiser: No.

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