Review: Sevenhugs hugOne Sleep Monitoring System
With most people's modern busy lifestyles, the question of whether we're getting enough sleep is becoming a more persistent one, and the market now has a wide variety of accessories design to help us track and monitor sleep patterns to hopefully lead us in the direction of better health. Sevenhugs' hugOne ($180) is a new entry in this space, providing an expandable wireless sleep monitoring solution for the entire family, including the kids, along with environmental sensors and Hue and Nest integration that can help ensure optimal sleeping conditions in your room.
The hugOne system includes an attractive base station that provides air quality monitoring and illuminated notifications, and it forms the hub for up to 8 sleep sensors — known as minihugs — that are placed under each family member’s mattress cover or bottom sheet. The hugOne package includes two minihugs in blue and pink to get you started; extra minihugs can be purchased separately in orange or green for $50 a piece. The base station connects to power via an included USB-based power adapter and to your home network via Wi-Fi and is ideally designed to sit on a nightstand, likely in the master bedroom. The minihugs connect back to the base station via their own wireless protocol and can be distributed throughout the house to each family member; each is powered by an included CR2032 battery that the company promises should last for about 6 months.
The hugOne setup process involves downloading the free app from the App Store, and then signing up for an account, answering a few questions about the primary user such as gender, height, and age, pairing the hugOne base station with your Wi-Fi network, and then setting up the first minihug and assigning it to the primary user. The second minihug can then be paired by setting up an additional user profile from within the app, and the process can be repeated if you’ve purchased additional minihugs. Once the minihugs are paired with the hugOne, they’re placed in the top corner of your mattress, under the mattress cover or top sheet and they proceed to just work silently from there. Sevenhugs also includes two bed strips in the package, which the company recommends using for small children to amplify their moves in bed so that their sleep can be properly tracked — specifically for children 13 years old or younger who sleep on a foam mattress. The instructions also note that the bed strips can be useful if a user is seeing inaccurate results with certain mattresses, such as memory foam. In a two-person bed, user should place one minihug in each person’s corner.
Once configured, the hugOne should immediately go to work and begin monitoring your sleep whenever you’re in bed at night. For those worried about stray RF transmissions, Sevenhugs has also cleverly designed the minihugs to stop transmitting wireless signals when you’re in bed, storing data locally while you sleep rather than bombarding your head with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals. Once you wake up and are no longer in bed, your assigned minihug will transmit its data back to the base station where it will becoming available for viewing in the app, although this does mean that there can be a delay of up to an hour or two before the prior night’s sleep data becomes available.
In addition to monitoring sleep, hugOne and the minihugs can also record air quality (at the base station) and temperature and humidity in each room (via the minihugs). This data can be viewed in the app as an aggregate average from the main screen, and it’s included individually with the sleep tracking data for each user’s minihug. A sleep data bar is shown in the app for each user for each day, including when the person fell asleep and woke up, and the duration of deep sleep, light sleep, and awake time illustrated by various colors on the bar. Tapping on an individual day will show a detailed view with specific times and durations, along with the temperature, humidity, and a calculated “sleep score” intended to provide a glance at the quality of your sleep based on factors such as regularity of bed times, total sleep time, number of awakenings, and room temperature and humidity.
While hugOne doesn’t support HomeKit integration, it does provide direct tie-ins to both the Hue and Nest ecosystems. Nest integration allows it to automatically adjust your Nest thermostat for optimal night time temperature based on sensing that everybody is actually in bed, as opposed to simply changing the temperature at an arbitrary time. Support for Philips Hue lets you pair each user profile with a single Hue light to allow family members to fall asleep more naturally with a sunset light theme, and to trigger sunrise lighting automatically at wakeup time. In addition, the hugOne app includes a “smart alarm” feature that advances wake up time up to 20 minutes before your pre-set time to try and match your body’s natural sleep cycle. Integration with the IFTTT online service also opens up a wealth of other possibilities, including the ability to do things like update Google Drive spreadsheets with sleep data, send messages to Twitter, Slack, or email, or even control other IFTTT enabled accessories. It’s a nice extra layer of integration, but of course relies on the external IFTTT cloud service, and is therefore dependent on your Internet connection and which other accessories are supported by IFTTT.
For the most part, hugOne works as advertised and we were pretty impressed with the results, although it’s worth mentioning that the system seems to take a few days to become fully accurate in terms of its sleep recognition — for the first two to three days, our sleep and wakeup times were off, sometimes by a couple of hours, but once it seemed to have us figured out, the times became pretty much spot on. Hue and Nest integration are definitely a nice bonus, although we’d like to see Apple HomeKit integration to open up to a wider range of accessories. We were also pretty disappointed that HealthKit integration was missing — although this is something that Sevenhugs should be able to address in an iOS app update, it does seem like a big omission in an era when everything else is recording data into Apple’s core Health app.
As has often been the case with many recent home and health accessories, the real question comes down to the price. hugOne works well, but is it worth the $180 asking price for two family members just to track sleep, not to mention an additional $50 to add more users. If you’re concerned about getting a good night’s sleep, it’s definitely worth considering, and perhaps even more so if you’ve already invested in other accessories that hugOne can tie into, like Hue and Nest. The ability to do things like automatically detect when everybody is in bed or monitor air quality problems and take action via IFTTT is definitely cool from a home automation perspective. It’s definitely an interesting solution for home automation and health tracking enthusiasts, and worthy of our limited recommendation.