New Zeo Personal Sleep Score Record

One of my recent obsessions has become “human instrumentation.”  I’ve always been really interested in the data that I generate (sleep, fitness, diet, medical) and in the past six months have started buying every personal measurement product or device I can find that is integrated with the web.

One of my favorites is the Zeo.  We looked at investing a while ago and I got to play with one of the alpha prototypes.  It was cool but we just didn’t get there on the investment, even though I loved the product and had a great impression of the founding team and what they were up to.  We keep a list of “companies we hope we regret not investing in” which means (in English) that we are huge fans and will do whatever we can to help, even though we aren’t investors.  Zeo is on that list for me.

But – back to my sleeping skills.  Last night I set a new personal ZQ of 137.  Here’s my sleep graph from last night.


Light green is REM – I had four REM cycles last night (I usually have one or two) and during the week my score is usually between 50 and 70.  The red wake up spikes are bathroom trips (three last night – eek – getting older) and the last one on the far right is when Amy came in to the room at 11am to make sure I was still alive.

I just got a Fitbit and I’m starting to use it also so at some point I’ll do a comparison of the Zeo vs. Fitbit sleep data.  In the mean time, I think the Zeo is a great present – definitely consider it for any friends who either (a) love data or (b) have trouble sleeping.  I get some kind of affiliate thingy if you clicking on that link above, so if you do buy a Zeo, help me fund my endless toy habit.

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  • you slept for 13 hours last night? i slept for half that long last night

    • It’s one of my special gifts – really sleeping after a week of not nearly enough.  Monday was 4:37, Tuesday was 5:49, Wednesday was 6:23, Thursday was 6:30 and then Friday night was 12:37.

  • wow. i can't sleep more than eight hours no matter how hard i try.

    • As I've gotten older I've gotten to where I can't really sleep more than about six hours. If I can work in a 10-minute nap, though, I do much better getting through the afternoon.

      • I hope I never lose the ability to sleep 12+ hours at a stretch. I've been able to do it since I was a little kid – I think my record is around 18 hours.

  • Ive been using one for just over a week now and find that I just cant keep the headband on my head! It ends up falling off for a few hours every night, and the night that I had my best sleep (a 73), I also had taken some nyquil.

    Your melon is about the same size as mine, do you not toss and turn so much? How many times, on average, do you wake up? For me its 3-4, and my Rem has never gone above 1:34 (the lowest was :16).

    Im a horrible sleeper. I really need to take the data and turn it into something…

    • Tighten the headband a little and wear the back further down on your head.  I lost it a few times the first week – I eventually got it sized right.

      • Im going to to have to fiddling. The best part of the ZEO is seeing the direct correlation between "good" sleep and productivity.

    • Oh – and I wake up three or four times a night – usually to pee.

  • If you like Fitbit and Zeo, you have to check out the Withings scale (… I've been using it for the last two weeks and really loving it. The iPhone app is really nice. (Though I have turned off the scale's auto-tweet function to spare my followers from getting daily weight tweets)…

    • Yup – I've got one. The special bonus is the integration with DailyBurn.

  • Wayne Smelton

    Looked into those Withings sales. They are seriously overpriced, about 10x what they should be so not for mere mortals I suspect.

  • Gosh, you guys lucky, I am generally on 4/5hours.

    aim to do some 12hrs sleeping session during hols (if I can).

    acid test is, if any of these system would help you to IMPROVE on the duration/frequency of REM sleep!? that would be multi-billion business .. 😉

    Fred & Brad, you guys are very brave, I just can never be so 'transparent'.. esp. regarding my personal lives, let alone bodily function!! respects.

    • The Zeo has a feature called SmartWake (… It allows you to set your alarm clock to wake you up when you are entering or exiting a REM cycle. It’s really cool and pretty amazing when you wake up coming out of or just starting a REM cycle.

      Here’s how it works.  I wake up at 5am every morning.  I have SmartWake set to wake me up as much as 30 minutes before (so anytime between 4:30 and 5:00).  If I enter or exit a REM cycle between 4:30 and 5:00, the alarm goes off.  And – when this happens – I wake up WIDE AWAKE.

  • Mohan

    These guys have done a great job with gathering complex (out of consciousness) data and presenting it in a very meaningful form. My problem is if the data shows my sleep is bad, this toy doesn't 'guarantee' how I can sleep better. I hope this company has a strong vision/roadmap, and not end up becoming a 1 trick pony.

    • They've got real science behind it, a ton of online coaching and advice, and recmendations based on your data and other qualitative data that you can enter on a daily basis. Overall, a great first release that should evolve nicely over time.

  • ron

    very curious to see how the fitbit (which I have) data lines up with the Zeo stuff… brainwave vs. movement… interesting.

    • I'll do a comparison between the two once I've got enough FitBit data.

  • I'm afraid that with my luck the thing will start shocking me just when I drift off to sound sleep. Yeah, I admire your sleeping skills also.

    Pleasant dreams.

  • Zach

    I thought about getting this but my concern was the the headband itself was going to bother me while sleeping. How conformable is the headband is and do you think that just the fact that you know your sleep is being tracked changes your behavior?

    • The headband is fine. I noticed it for the for few days but don't notice it anymore.

      At first I had the clock lit up so I could see the time and the sleep graph. I tried turning off the clock light one night and found that I slept much better. My guess is that I was spending some time thinking about my sleeping which was adversely affecting me. It also could have just been the light from the clock.

  • John Lilly CEO of Mozilla recently returned his Zeo:

    • It seems like John really liked the product but didn't trust the data.

      I've done a few manual tests (such as keeping track of the number of times I wake up each night) and have found the data that I can cross check to be remarkably accurate.

      I wonder if John had a bad unit. Hopefully the Zeo guys will leverage the power of social media to get him another unit to try again and see if they can get his confidence back on the data.

    • Hi Ben –

      We reached out to John and had a great conversation with him about his Zeo experience. During our conversation, it didn't take long for us to realize that John is an innovator – he shared some great suggestions and insights on how we might enable users to explore their data more readily.

      We also discussed Zeo's accuracy & scientific validations ( on the call. John wanted more accuracy on a moment by moment basis, which is tricky because of human memory (or lack thereof: & physiological reasons (even sleep techs disagree ~14% of the night on which phase of sleep you are in while using data from a lab).

      At the end of the day, Zeo is the most accurate consumer technology for tracking sleep at home, and it is not meant to replace sleeping in a lab. The information you get from Zeo is (at the least) directional and will help you make smarter decisions on your trek towards better sleep fitness; try some of the tips we offer and keep the ones that work for you.

      John's feedback was great and he offered to help us out as we continue to forge ahead. We're learning, growing, building…

      [email protected]
      [[email protected]]

  • The usefulness of this data for coaching (that I do) would be pretty interesting to monitor. For example: Recovery is key to any training stimulus, therefore if you have a couple consecutive days of poor sleep and have a schedule long run or schedule tough interval run, maybe it would be better to skip the bigger training stimulus for an easier workout. Then if you are able to manage a good nights sleep proceed with your bigger stimulus the next day.

    There's more to recovery than sleep, but there could be some application there – if the sleep data proves reliable and valid.

    It's not unlike a professor/strength coach I saw present on how they determine their daily strength programs. They have a identified level of training load they want to accomplish, but if the player comes in "trashed" they skip the workout and schedule it later in the week. This just gives some additional recovery data?


  • I'm looking forward to testing out Even though I have to wait a bit for the product to launch, it's much cheaper :).

  • Hi Brad. I saw an interesting "Human Instrumentation" company the other day and and I will make an introduction. The company is called Core MD and it is ran by a very seasoned CEO named Jim Cruise. Jim is creating a network of doctors and patients that use Body Computing to make sure a patient is in optimal health. It is very cool and Jim knows how to make great companies.

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  • Check out Sleep Cycle For 0.79€ its worth many times it price. It gives you amazingly good data about your sleep. There is nothing to wear because it uses the iphone's accelerometer and also has the smart wakeup function. I have been using it for two weeks now, and there is no way I'm going back to the traditional alarm!

  • Getting this now – I’ll definitely compare it to the Zeo and Fitbit data and use it when I’m on the road.

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  • Kristina

    This was written 2 months ago, have you done your analysis with Zeo and Fitbit yet? Was thinking of buying one or the other and was interested in seeing what your conclusions are.

  • Yup – on the list to do.  I like the Zeo much better.

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