Set Lark on Sleep! Day 31

So, it’s been a little longer than I had thought, but here’s the completion of my review of the Lark. In short, I think it’s a great alarm clock, but I’m not so sure about it’s ability to help improve your sleep.

Here’s a more descriptive breakdown of my thoughts:

  • The lark has never failed to wake me up. So, I haven’t yet heard the Lark custom alarm tone. I want to though. But in order to hear it, I think you have to let the Lark buzz for five minutes, trying to wake you up.
  • I think it may have woken my wife up only once. It sounds really loud to me in the morning, but she hasn’t complained about it yet.
  • I continue to find the mini-USB port to be annoying to  hook up quietly in the morning. However, I like that I can use a regular USB charger when I travel and I don’t have to bring the Lark dock.
  • When you wake up before your Lark-alarm, it’s annoying to disable the alarm. You have to connect the Lark to the dock to wake it up then stuf off the alarm in the app.
  • I still find the wristband super comfortable.
  • Each day, Lark send the day’s sleep data to their website. The upload has failed a few days. However, the app has retained data for all of the days that I’ve used it.
  • I’ve contacted support a few times to ask some questions and because of the failed data uploads. They’ve been extremely helpful.
  • Lark assigns the date to the day you wake up on, which is counterintuitive to me. I always think of my sleep belonging to the day that I fall asleep on. If I go to bed after midnight, it’s still not yet “tomorrow”, and I would want that sleep assigned to the previous day. Perhaps that can be a preference setting.
  • Lark seems to capture only one sleep session per day and so does not seem to support napping.
  • I find the colors used in their graphs to be unclear. What’d the difference between the blue and the purple? Also, I would think that blue or another darker color would be a good choice to represent sleep.
  • I wish that the Lark had a on / off switch. I’d feel better about travelling with it if I could just turn it off, rather than rely on it falling asleep.
  • It’d also be nice if it had a “wake” button or something so that you could wake up the Lark w/o having to plug it into the charger. I realize though that the lack of both this and the power switch is to keep things simple and reduce manufacturing costs.
The first two images are screenshots of the iPhone app. One is the overview of the collected data. You can see the date, how well the Lark think you slept, and if you are a Lark Pro member, how well you’ve met your sleep targets (sleep time, time spent in bed, and wake time). The other is the details of a particular day. In addition to the data on the overview, you get to see your sleep quality score (from 0 to 10), how long it took you to fall asleep, how many times you woke up, and a graph of your sleep pattern.

On the Lark website, you get to see additional data, such as usage rate, averages of  time asleep, time in bed, average wake up time, etc. You can explore individual days. The next few images above are of those things.

 

Lark Pro

If you are a Lark Pro member, you can set sleep targets and also do one or more 7-day sleep coaching sessions. The last few images are from a Lark coaching session. They analyze your sleep data and try to give you guidance on how to improve your sleep. I wish the data were lain out a bit better. For example, it’d be nice if the averages of your actual sleep data were closer to the recommended targets so that you could compare them more easily. Right now, they don’t fit on the screen at the same time, so you have to scroll back and forth to understand things. They also use “total time in bed” and “total sleep time” and the distinctions are not always clear in all cases. Also, while they give you some basic trending (in the form of bar graphs) for the time during a coaching session, there’s no automated trending of your progress from one coaching session to the next. So, if coaching session one resulted in some recommendations that you follow during the next coaching session, there’s no connection between the results of the second coaching session and the results of the first one. So, to know if you are improving, you need to flip back and forth between coaching session results.

Conclusions

Lark is a pretty expensive alarm clock, but I would totally buy it again. I like that it doesn’t wake my wife up, yet always wakes me up. I’m still not sure how valuable I find the Lark Pro membership though. I’m going to try a few more coaching sessions over the next month and do another update.

I do disagree with Lark a bit though on how they grade your sleep. So far, I’ve gotten scores between 9.1 and 9.6 and ratings of either “well” or “very well”. Yet, I wake up most mornings feeling like utter crap. We have a memory foam mattress, which supposedly causes less tossing and turning during the night. I wonder if the Lark is dependent on mattress type. I asked Lark about this and they said it wasn’t, but I have my doubts. In general though, if I wake up feeling very tired, it’s kind of annoying for the Lark to tell me that I slept “very well”. A different verbal scale might be appropriate.

There are many factors which influence sleep, such as if you got any exercise (and timing, duration, and exertion), if you have caffeine or alcohol (and how much and at what time). I feel like there is an opportunity for Lark to include a post-bed survey asking some or all of those questions and a post-wake survey asking how you feel upon waking. That would allow Lark to calibrate its ratings to the individual based on more than just the motion sensor.

So, I encourage you to get a Lark and give it a try. They offer a sweet 30 day return policy, so it’s risk free, with the exception of shipping.

 

 

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