Not a morning person? A new alarm watch–part science, part this-oughta-work–may help. The Sleeptracker monitors a sleeper’s movement and uses the information to deduce the stage in his or her sleep cycle. Its inventor, Lee Loree–a former stock analyst who came up with the idea by watching his wife sleep–designed the alarm to go off just before or after the dream stage, REM sleep. You set a 30-minute range on the watch. If at some point in that 30 minutes you aren’t in REM, the alarm rings. If you’re in REM the entire half-hour, well, it’s time to get up.
Loree’s idea makes some medical sense. Most people don’t move at all during REM, so motionlessness is a pretty good indicator. And it’s true that an interruption can cause a sleeper to wake up “confused and miserable,” says Dr. Frisca Yan-Go, director of UCLA’s Sleep Disorders Center. On the other hand, Yan-Go says monitoring brain waves is the only way to accurately measure sleep cycles.
The Sleeptracker did a decent job of gauging ours. Half the mornings we used it, its soft beeping roused us a few minutes before we normally wake up, leaving us surprisingly alert. For the rest, it sensed no movement and beeped at the end of the time window, like a standard alarm. $149; www.sleeptracker.com