I hate the process of waking up. Seriously. I have never been a morning person, and doubt seriously that I ever will be. That having been said, my job requires me to get up early. So, I have been struggling to find some way to force myself to get up.
I’ve tried alarm clocks, of course. My problem there is that I am evidently coherent enough to know how to turn them off instead of just snoozing them when they go off. After a few times showing up late to work, I realized that there must be something better out there. Even when I would wake up and resist turning it off altogether, I would end up snoozing dozens of times until I simply had to get up. Even then I would still feel groggy and not at all refreshed. ‘Surely I can’t be the only one dealing with this kind of problem,’ I reckoned.
Enter WakeMate. I discovered this device while searching for more information in the field of actigraphy. If you haven’t heard, actigraphy is a means of measuring where you are in your sleep cycles based on your movement during the night. The WakeMate device attempts to use this measured data in order to wake you up during a lesser phase of sleep. In so doing, you are purported to feel more refreshed than if you had been roused from slumber during one of the deeper phases of sleep.
I couldn’t really tell if the WakeMate motto is “Sleep less. Feel Better.” or “Wake up fresh; sleep smarter.” Regardless, they both sounded like something I could get excited about, so I decided to contact the fine folks behind this little device and see if they would be interested in providing me with a unit for this review. Graciously enough, they agreed to do just that! So, over the next few weeks (or longer!) I will be providing updates with regard to my experiences with the device and its associated software. But first, let’s start from the beginning with what you would receive in the mail were you to order a WakeMate.
The package looks very professional, and I like that they take advantage of the packaging to indicate just how simple the usage of this product should be. As you can see, it doesn’t ship with much in the way of documentation. But, it really doesn’t need much in the way of a manual; the enclosed note instructs you as to the basics of what you will need to do, and sends you to the company’s website for further direction, or in case you need more assistance. Also included, naturally, are the wristband and a standard mini-USB cable. You can hook this cable up to a computer in order to charge the wristband, or you could use just about any other standard charger that has a mini-USB end. For instance, I have successfully used the charger that came with my Android phone (HTC G1/Dream).
You’ll notice that there are a lot of Apple devices displayed on the package. This is because I received the Apple version of the device. You see, Apple demands of hardware manufacturers that they can’t make a one-size-fits-all device. So, the folks at WakeMate sell two versions of the WakeMate device: one for Apple, and one for not-Apple.
I personally do not have an Apple device, however, but my wife was generous enough to let me commandeer hers every night for the foreseeable future while I write this review. 🙂 Well, at least I’m allowed to use it as long as I get it back to her charged in the morning!
The first step is to pair the device to your iWhatever (in my case, an iPod Touch 2nd Generation…more on this later). The Bluetooth pairing process is fairly straightforward, and if you’ve ever paired anything which uses Bluetooth before this will not be a problem for you. The next step sends you to the App Store in order to download the WakeMate app. Without it, your brand new wristband won’t do much to help you! All settings, uploading of data, and communications will be handled by this all-important app.
Unfortunately, you’ll note that in the image above it lists “iPod Touch 3rd Generation.” I have run into a few snags due to having a 2nd generation device. These aren’t the fault of the WakeMate folks, but I’ll note these quirks during my review, as well as the methods I’ve been able to use to get around them. So, the good news is that you should still be able to use this even if you have a 2nd generation device. The better news is that you likely won’t have any of the issues I did if you do have a 3rd generation or higher device.
The next post in this series will detail the WakeMate app, as understanding it will be integral to your success in using the product. Stay tuned!