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Testing out the Zeo Sleep Manager……And a FREE one ($100 value) for one of you!!



I’m really excited about a few things

Remember how a week or so ago I mentioned having a few New Year’s resolutions I was excited to get started on? Well, for some reason I have a huge long list that I’m working on. And so far, so good.  Except for getting everywhere on time. That one still needs some work. Ha.  But the one I’m most excited about is treating this body of mine a little better. Okay, a lot better. ;) I get so busy, busy, busy with so many things that I forget that forcing myself to stay up late to fit in some “me” time isn’t doing me any good. Either is snacking on whatever my little heart wants to munch on.  Okay, or choosing to edit pictures over doing a quick exercise video while the kiddos are napping. My body is getting tired of that too. I have come to realize that there is always an excuse to choose not to take care of my body, but there are more reasons to choose to take care of it. Am I making sense? :)

Anyway, I don’t generally like to talk about weight and dieting and blah, blah, blah, but it’s mostly because I need to. But really, who doesn’t? And what better time to make some lifestyle changes than at the beginning of a new year?

So when I was offered the opportunity to be a part of a Campaign with BlogHer for Best Buy’s

“New Year, New You” program, I jumped all over it. Luckily, they welcomed me on board and so every week (for about 7 weeks) I will be tracking my nutrition and fitness progress as well as reviewing some really cool Best Buy fitness products.  How perfect is that? All I needed was a little push. (Because I kept putting it off, putting it off.) And now I’m ready to get this body back on track. And feeling better. And yes, happier.

I’ll get more into my fitness and nutrition routine in a few days (that’s going well, yay!!!), but first, I have to share with you something that jump started everything.  The Zeo Sleep Manager.

Oh. My. Word.

The Zeo is the coolest little gadget.

Best Buy sent me the Zeo Sleep Manager to test out. It’s this little headband bluetooth accessory that you wear around your forehead (kinda like a sweat band), with sensors on the back that read your sleep patterns. It “talks” to your mobile smart phone and transfers data all night long while you sleep. It tracks your sleep, records how many times you wake up at night, measures your REM and deep sleep stages, analyzes your data, tells you your overall sleep score (ZQ), etc.

Okay, really?!!

To be honest, I was a little leery.  But since I knew sleeping and overall health are directly related, I wanted to give it a try.  So, I popped this little thing out of its box (setup was really basic and quick) and charged it up.

Later that night, I was still a little weirded out by wearing a headband all night. My husband teased me and kept calling me “Daniel-san”. (Karate Kid, anyone?) The headband was surprisingly lightweight though and really soft. I thought the sensors on the back would bug my forehead, but after having it on a minute or two, I couldn’t even feel them. And there are soft little tubes that slide around the headband that are really nice to put right above your ears. Nope, no rubbing there.

Tip: My headband stays on way better during the night if I put the back of the strap under my hair. It doesn’t move at all. But if it’s over my hair it slips around more.

So once I was past the weird idea of having a headband on all night, I was all ready to test this little gadget out. (But yes, still leery.) I downloaded the free Zeo App to my iPhone (it took 2 seconds and is available for Droids, too) and then synced the two together.  I didn’t have to fuss with it much because the App is very simple and self explanatory. Once I took the headband off its charger, my phone recognized it and told me to place it on my forehead, and then to click on “start tracking”. So I obeyed. Ha. :) Seriously easy though.

A little light on a mini bar graph began to slightly flash, telling me that I was still awake. Ok, so far so good. (looked like the image below)

So after a while, I nodded off to sleep, forgetting about the headband. But here’s where I began to believe. I woke up during the night because the baby woke up, and I actually grabbed my phone first, looked at the graph, and yep, there were all sorts of different colored graph bars, showing different levels of sleep I had received so far. And then the little “wake” light started flashing, telling me I was awake again. Crazy.  It was actually working. I just kept my headband on, fed the baby, then decided I would look further into it in the morning.

By the next morning, I had a whole night’s worth of sleep stages and data.  So cool.

I have slept with it every night since, and now have record of each night’s data and patterns. (It’s not showing them all here in the pic. And it’s also showing an incomplete graph of where I goofed up and put it on too early and then took it off. And another night where it fell off half way through the night and cut off data because I hadn’t learned that it stays exactly in place if I place it under my hair in the back. Okay, still learning, ha.)

And just for fun, let me pick apart a graph that I remember, just to show you what went on.

First of all, it took me 25 minutes (each skinny bar equals 5 minutes) to fall asleep around midnight. (Red equals awake.) I do remember my husband and I were chatting, and I was even holding really still so the Zeo could have thought I went to sleep, but nope. It knew.  Then I fell asleep and everything was going fine until I had to use the bathroom right before 3 am. I totally remember getting up and wondering if it would pick it up right away. It did.  After 10 minutes, I fell back to sleep but then the baby woke up around 6 am to eat. After I put her back to bed, I was kind of in and out of sleep again until the bigger kids woke up and jumped in bed with me. They were reading books right on my bed with me while I tried to steal a few more minutes of sleep. It totally recognized that and recorded it. So trippy.

So even though I doubted, the Zeo totally won. And produced some pretty cool info for me to look at.

I could see what was interrupting my sleep, how much REM I was getting, how long it took me to get there, how much deep and light sleep I was getting, and then the Zeo produced a sleep score (ZQ) for me. This is an objective number that is compiled based on the quality of sleep. The graph from above shows a score of 75 which is better than the score of 59 (and lower) from the nights before. I love that I can look at my score and then make adjustments to improve it.

Another really cool feature of the Zeo, is the SmartWake. For example, if I want to get up around 7:20 am, I can set my SmartWake for 7:20 am but if the device detects that it would be best to wake up at 7:05 because of the sleep cycle I’m in……the alarm will gradually sound and will wake me up a bit earlier. I can set parameters that are within 20, 30, or 40 minutes of the actual time I want to get up, so it’s not going to wake me up at 2 am just because of a light sleep cycle. So if I set the SmartWake parameters within 20 minutes of my wake up time…the Zeo will decide what is the best time to wake up between 7 and 7:20. Even though getting an extra 15 or so minutes of sleep sounds optimal, that’s not the case. Depending on how deep I’m sleeping, it may be better for me to get up at 7:05, rather than an abrupt alarm 15 minutes later while in a deeper sleep. (Oh, and the alarm will never go past the actual alarm time you set.)

While using my Zeo, I have become more aware of needing to go to bed much earlier and have found that I get better quality sleep when I go to bed earlier and get up earlier rather than going to bed late and getting up later. That quote by Benjamin Franklin that says, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” is really true for me. Dang. ;) But I have seen a big difference just in the last two days by getting up a few minutes earlier, just like the SmartWake told me to do.

(And I totally want to try it on my husband and see how deep of a sleep he really goes into when he falls asleep at his desk while studying. ;) )

There are many other features available to Zeo owners, including emails with healthy sleeping tips, personalized guidance, an online coaching program, and many other tools. The Zeo team really has thought out so many different good/bad contributors to our sleep quality. I’ve only looked at a few but can already see a difference by using just the basics of the Zeo.

And better quality sleep for me, means a healthier and happier body. And yep, that is my goal for this year. So Zeo, I owe you a big thanks for getting me started down a healthier road for 2012.

. . . . .


Who would like to win your very own Zeo Sleep Manager??

Leave a comment letting me know your biggest obstacle to a good night’s sleep, to be entered for a chance to win.

No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 1/11 – 1/17/12

Also be sure to visit the Inspiration to Fitness page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews, get great fitness tips and find more chances to win!  You can also click on the Best Buy image at the top of my blog to view a calendar of all the Inspiration to Fitness content. Good luck!

Best Buy does not sponsor, endorse, approve, or have any responsibility for this promotion.


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

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Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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