Sleep monitors promise a better night's sleep

May 21, 2013 8:33:35 PM PDT
Sleep monitors are becoming increasingly popular for those looking for some solid shut-eye. Action News checked out one of those monitors to see how effective it can be.

47-year old busy mom Judy Sarnocinski of Aston, Pa. is tired of, well, being tired.

"In the morning I'm exhausted, and then during the day I'm exhausted around, you know, between 12:00 and 2:00 I can barely keep my eyes open," she said.

Judy says bedtime doesn't seem to be her problem. Instead, she thinks restless nights of tossing and turning plus a 6:40 a.m. wake-up call is what leaves her feeling sluggish throughout the day.

"I really want to lay down and take a nap," she said. "I mean, I'm very unproductive during the day. I have a hard time getting anything done."

Since a nap isn't an option, Judy is tracking her shut-eye for five nights with the $149 SleepTracker Elite.

She hopes this watch holds the answers to a better night's z's.

"I think I'm a very light sleeper," she said. "I'm hoping this is going to help, at least keep me in tune to my body and what's going on."

Company founder Lee Loree calls SleepTracker a lifestyle improvement device.

He says waking up alert has little to do with the amount of sleep you get. Instead it is about waking up at the right time.

"If you wake up at a good time in the morning in a state that your body wants to naturally get up, it makes it easier to get up and feel more refreshed throughout the day," he said.

Loree says the SleepTracker collects data based on motion to determine sleep cycles: deep, interrupted and light.

The SleepTracker alarm will then wake you up during a light sleep state within a 20-minute window of your normal wake-up time.

"You are in a light stage, and you were virtually awake anyway so it is much easier to transition from being asleep to awake," said Loree.

And that helps fight the groggy feeling during the day.

"We wake up when our alarm wakes us up and sometimes we are in dream sleep and sometimes we are in deep sleep and that feels terrible," said sleep specialist Dr. Joanne Getsy of the Drexel Sleep Center.

Dr. Getsy says you WILL feel the benefits of waking up during the light sleep stage.

However, she says most people feel sluggish because they cheat themselves from a good night's rest.

"It doesn't replace the fact that we all need 7 to 8 hours of sleep on a nightly basis," she said.

Dr. Getsy says sleep monitors can't replace a solid night's sleep. But they can be a useful tool for better understanding your own sleep patterns.

As for Judy, "my body woke at a different time than I am used to," she said.

As it turns out, Judy isn't a light sleeper after all. And the new wake-up time helped.

"I felt more rested," she said.

There are also inexpensive apps that can be downloaded to your smart phone that claim to monitor your sleep cycles.

Dr. Getsy says overall lifestyle plays a role in how you sleep. So modifying your diet and exercise can help.

She also says if you make adjustments and your sleep problems don't go away you should talk to your doctor.