Sense measures temperature, light, motion, humidity, sound, and even the particle counts for pollen and dust in the air. It also includes a tiny circular “Sleep Pill” that clips onto your pillowcase. Like most sleep trackers, the Pill records your sleep patterns by measuring how much you move in your sleep, but without asking you to wear a wristband or strap a sensor to your mattress. The two gadgets report back to your iOS or Android device through the Sense app over Bluetooth.
When you glance at the app in the morning, it displays a timeline of the prior evening. It might show you that at 3AM, you tossed and turned a bit because some lights came on, and at 6AM, your dog started howling, which caused some more stirring. Sense includes a microphone that listens to your room as you sleep, so it can actually play back the noises that woke you. Proud fed hundreds of sound samples into Sense — many of them snoring samples from YouTube — so the app might display “snoring” instead of “abrupt sound at 3AM.”
The goal of Sense, like most fitness trackers and quantified-self devices, is to provide transparency — or “sleep intelligence,” as Hello Inc calls it. There are some cute features, like a built-in LED that makes Sense glow green if your room’s conducive to a good night’s sleep — and it only turns on once you’ve turned off the lights. A yellow or orange glow means you should check the app to see what’s wrong. If the air’s too smoggy, you might want to replace the filter in your central air unit. If the room’s too bright, you might want to invest in some blackout drapes. Common sense goes a long way towards better sleep, but Sense hopes to go further.
“With this, you can know every single night what’s going on,” he says. Over time, the Sense app will offer advice like “You sleep best when the temperature is between 61 and 68 degrees, lower your thermostat?” or insights like “In the past month, you’ve gone to sleep an average of 38 minutes earlier than usual.”
If you hear recurring sounds in your Sense log, you might even discover that you have a sleep disorder. “A large number of people are never diagnosed with this stuff.” About 18 million Americans have moderate to severe sleep apnea, in fact, and 75 percent of them don’t know it, according to the The New York Times. Sense isn’t designed to diagnose any medical conditions, but could easily pick up the midnight coughing fits you didn’t know you had.