Reviews and Recommendations; November / December 2009; Scientific American Mind; by Gary Stix; Frederik Joelving; Melinda Wenner; Corey Binns; Victoria Stern; Nicole Branan; 2 Page(s)
Catch Some Slow Waves
Zeo sleep monitor ($399)
It takes about an hour to glue more than a dozen sensors to a research subject about to undergo polysomnography, the technology designed to monitor brain waves and other physiological variables used to characterize our time asleep. A Boston-based company called Zeo now lets you simply strap on a headband, similar to a runner's sweatband, that allows you to obtain information about your own sleep patterns that would otherwise only be available from a costly laboratory setup.
Three electrodes attached to the headband record hour by hour what happens after you close your eyes: REM (rapid eye movement), light and deep sleep (various non-REM measures, such as slow waves), nocturnal wakings and length of rest. The zigs and zags of z's then move wirelessly to a fancy alarm clock, which crunches the electrophysiological brain dump to yield an overall sleep quality score and a graph, below the digital hours and minutes display, of what transpired the night before—whether you were dreaming at 3 a.m. or in a light snooze an hour later. Last night's download can be moved via a memory card to a computer, where you may further analyze your sleep history and receive sleep hygiene recommendations (don't drink alcohol or exercise before bedtime).