Apple’s Beddit Sleep Tracker Has Left Me Scratching My Head

Sleep tracking seems to be the next area that Apple is pushing into. Now that they’ve established health and well-being as their version of the “killer app”, the company is leveraging its 2016 acquisition of the Beddit sleep tracker. This sensor sits on your bed and can monitor sleep data for up to two people. And while it’s an amazing device – when you consider what it can measure without relying on a wearable – I’m left wondering what value sleep tracking really has for most of us.

There’s some solid science around that suggests getting to bed and waking at about the same time each day is important of you want to maximise the value of your sleep. But, I suspect, that beyond that, other sleep data is largely useless for the majority of us. There’s the entire quantified self movement with people measuring every possible data point in their day-to-day life, trying to discern patterns in order to optimise their performance.

The Beddit Sleep Monitor can measure sleep time, heart rate, breathing, snoring, and bedroom temperature and humidity.And a single tracker can provide metrics for up to two people sharing a bed.

Fitbit, Apple Watch and a swag of other wearables can also track your sleep but I’m left asking a question; what value is the data?

I know there are many people out there with sleep disorders and there’s a good case for those people requiring some sort of assistance or monitoring. But is there value in this kind of tracking for most of us.

I use an app called Pillow on my Apple Watch and we’ve also looked at Schleep. While the data is interesting, there’s no easy way to use its data with any other information I collect through my day such as heart rate, activity and diet.

And this is where I’m becoming frustrated. I can now collect more data about my health and well-being than ever before, with greater ease and accuracy than I imagined. Yet the data still remains challenging to use to gain useful insights. I end up back at the same place I was a decade ago. I weigh myself, look in the mirror and make a subjective judgement about how I feel. Beyond that, the data I collect from my daily activity, sleep and nutrition is interesting but pulling it together is hard.

What I’d really like to find out is “What makes a good day good and a bad day bad?” But getting insight from the data I’m collecting remains elusive.

With all the progress being made with machine learning and AI, I’d like to see someone produce a useful service that could answer those questions.

Is anyone out there having success answering those questions from the data they’re collecting from their wearables?


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