FitSleep creator on how a small box can help you sleep faster and better

FitSleep promises you'll get a great night's rest
Meet the boss behind FitSleep

According to its creator Xuan Yao, the FitSleep tracker has 95% accuracy monitoring sleep - but is actually closer to 99% in use.

During our meeting, Yao states this proudly but not in an overly boastful way. For him, it's simply a matter of facts. In this case, the data gleaned was from two years of testing and experimenting with the device.

Must read: Five sleep trackers tested, go head-to-head

We first featured FitSleep in our weekly Crowdfund this column where it was successfully funded on Indiegogo. We've yet to test out the FitSleep but a review is imminent. In the meantime, we caught up with Yao to find out more on how Fitsleep wants to help you sleep better.

What is FitSleep?

Getting a good night's sleep is a phrase we've heard many times before, but actually following through is harder than you'd think. There are plenty of apps and features on fitness trackers that try to monitor our movements attempting to provide you with metrics but most of the time it's hard to figure out what to do with the charts. Falling asleep quickly is also part of the equation that isn't easily solvable for a lot of people.

The FitSleep, a lightweight unassuming little box wants to help with these sleep issues by logging your heart rate, respiration rate, body movements, sleep patterns and sending you off to dream land with Alpha Wave technology called 'E-Lullaby.' There's nothing to wear on your head and no crazy bed setup. It's basically something you can't feel or even see, working in the background especially since you'll only need to charge it up via microUSB once a month.

During testing, Yao says the team found sleep transition time from awake to asleep has been successfully reduced to 29% with the device, meaning the FitSleep was able to help people fall asleep much quicker. The 95% (or Yao's 99%) accuracy of tracking was found through comparisons with medical level devices where you use electrodes on the body.

There are two different versions of FitSleep - one with the Alpha tech and one without. Yao thinks the former will be the more popular tracker and says, "Alpha 1 has alpha waves to help you fall asleep easily and quickly. I haven't seen too many other devices with it." He hasn't seen the same kind of tech for sleep anywhere else either though he notes, "It's on some meditation devices, but they aren't focused on sleep."

How FitSleep works

So how do the Alpha Waves make you sleep quicker? Apparently through waves and sensors crammed inside the FitSleep.

"As soon as your head hits the pillow, it starts working. Waves emit from an EM (electromagnetic wave) from 1-15Hz to scan the body, and reacts to the body through the sensors. It measures the exact frequency of your heartbeat and respiration to make you relax slowly helping you sleep."

Then in the morning, you have to press a button to sync the data with your mobile phone to see everything. It's unfortunate it won't sync automatically but Yao says the FitSleep is capable of storing 20 days worth of information in case you forget a day.

Regardless, the algorithms analyze your data in a graph, in a similar format you may have seen with fitness trackers.

"We can give an analysis of your sleep quality and give you a score then give a percentage of each sleep level - light, deep, medium and awake. We also give tips to improve your sleep patterns and sleep quality."

There's also a smart alarm feature you can use where Yao says, "Because we have the such an accurate device, we can wake you at the exact point where you'll feel most energetic."

Hearing heart beats

Ok, technically the FitSleep doesn't hear your heart. But it senses your heart beat. And it tracks through your pillow, or mattresses up to 15 inches thick.

"When we breathe, our heart works every second and it emits vibrations and vibration signals. Currently we have a vibration sensor and pressure sensor. Together these can detect the frequency of your heart rate. That's why we can bury it under a thick mattress. We are very proud of this because our sensor is very sensitive."

But that's not all. It seems the sensors can discern who's who between couples using the same bed if the FitSleep is under the mattress.

"Another unique part is that it can be used for couples. It can tell the difference. It will mirror the nearest signal and filter out the weaker one."

However couples need two FitSleeps to detect each person to track.

No matter the amount of FitSleeps you get, you also won't be able to feel the device especially since it's under your mattress. The discreteness is another feature Yao likes to point out.

"It seems like most other trackers need a belt under the shallow sheets which you can feel. But with FitSleep, you can totally forget it and it doesn't disrupt your sleep."

FitSleep heading out

The FitSleep is heading out to backers now into September but it will also be available in stores by the end of the year or sooner.

Yao says there are even partnerships with wearables on the way though none have been revealed just yet.

Mattress companies in China are also starting to develop lines where the FitSleep is already embedded so users can get the whole package. There's even the possibility of hotels utilizing the device.

Read next: Can sleep tracking make us feel better?

Beyond general consumer sales, e-commerce and gifting the FitSleep to friends and family, Yao says there's also potential for assisted living homes. FitSleep could provide an all purpose solution for caretakers who need a simple and efficient way to track sleep of their charges.

It seems the demand for a good night's sleep, and quickly drifting off natch, has allowed FitSleep to flourish. If you find yourself curious about the device, it's relatively inexpensive compared to other sleep monitors at $189 for the FitSleep with E-Lullaby Alpha Wave tech, and $149 for the other.

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