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Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile review

Kat Orphanides
29 Sep 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
89
inc VAT

If you want to optimise your sleep or are simply a data junkie then this gadget's for you, despite its sometimes fiddly operation

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Specifications

Wearing a home version of a medical EEG while you sleep sounds like something from an oddly mundane 1950s vision of the future, but that's pretty much what the Zeo Sleep Tracker is. It doesn't have the wealth of recording sensors used by medical grade EEGs but, according to Zeo, the conductive sensors on the headband "collect the tiny electrical signals naturally produced by your brain, muscle tone and eye movement." Like an EEG, the Zeo then amplifies and analyses these to work out roughly when in the night you were awake, in REM sleep, light sleep or deep sleep.

Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile

What's quite remarkable about all this is that the analysis is carried out in real time by an Android or iOS app over Bluetooth, and the results of the analysis are then displayed in numerical and graph format in the app and in Zeo's web interface. It took us a while to get our hardware and software working properly together, and once we had everything running we had to keep the phone or tablet that was running the app plugged in, as using a constant Bluetooth link is more than a little power-hungry. The limitations of Bluetooth also mean that it's advisable for the paired devices to stay within a metre of one another, so your device will need to be on your bedside table.

Sleep states graph

Different colours indicate your sleep states. The bright red spikes can be blamed on one of our cats

A further upshot of this is that if you need to get up for a glass of water in the night you should take the headband off before leaving the room. Otherwise, it and your phone or tablet will unpair and getting them to talk to each other again after this doesn't always go smoothly and can interrupt the recording of your sleep data. You also need to be careful when clipping the headband into the charging dock to ensure that the contacts line up, otherwise it won't charge properly and will run out of power at some point in the middle of the night. The Bluetooth signal can also be interrupted if a cat decides to sit on your head while you sleep, but we're fairly sure that isn't a typical usage scenario. After several nights of trial and error we were unsure if we could get it to work satisfactorily. If you keep an eye on all these issues, however, Zeo works brilliantly, but making sure everything's in proper working order is a bit more grief than we really want to deal with before bed.

Zeo Sleep Manager Mobile

If you suffer from serious sleep problems you should see the doctor rather than buying a Bluetooth gadget to pair with your phone. While it's impossible to measure the sleep monitor's absolute accuracy regarding our various sleep states, we did notice that when we woke up after a dream-filled night the Zeo had recorded significant periods of REM sleep. We also experimented with meditation techniques designed to trigger REM sleep, which was recorded as we expected. Its reports are much more detailed and accurate than the less advanced sleep monitoring functions of gadgets such as the Fitbit Ultra, which relies purely on motion sensing.

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