What can Google’s new Nest Hub tell you about your sleep? A lot

From how much your snore to the efficiency of your sleep, the Nest Hub senses all

The Hub is camera free, which makes it less creepy to have in the bedroom, and sleep sensing is completely opt-in – and easy to opt out if you change your mind. Photograph: iStock

The Hub is camera free, which makes it less creepy to have in the bedroom, and sleep sensing is completely opt-in – and easy to opt out if you change your mind. Photograph: iStock

 

Google would like to tell you how well you sleep. Not in creepy way (allegedly) but by using the sensors in its second generation Nest Hub to track and monitor your sleep quality.

If you aren’t familiar with the Nest Hub, it’s a Google Assistant-enabled display that will play your music, cast your Netflix and YouTube content, and act as a hub for your smarthome devices.

The second generation version brings the Soli-powered Motion Sense features, which, when positioned by your bedside will monitor movement and breathing and feed it back to the Google Fit app to help you analyse your sleep quality alongside other health and fitness data.

The Hub is camera free, which makes it less creepy to have in the bedroom, and sleep sensing is completely opt-in – and easy to opt out if you change your mind.

To see exactly what that means, I’ve been using Google’s second generation Nest Hub for the past two weeks to monitor my sleep. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

I don’t get enough sleep

This will come as no surprise to anyone with small children, but according to Google I’m not getting enough sleep. I average about five-and-a-half hours sleep a night, sometimes six on a weekend. Most adults apparently need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, which leads me to wonder who these adults are. Perhaps they are extremely organised and don’t find themselves doing last minute jobs at 11.30pm. Maybe they don’t have young children or pets who are guaranteed to kick off at some ungodly hour. Either way, I’d like to find them and learn their secrets.

I don’t follow a sleep schedule

In an ideal world, I would go to bed early and wake refreshed and ready to face the day when the alarm goes off at 5.30am. Instead, I can usually be found wandering the house far later than I should be because there’s a uniform missing, or lunches need to be made. And I’m usually awake before the alarm goes off because a small child has wandered in and is either curled up on my head or kicking me repeatedly in their sleep. Either way, now I know how bad it is, I might get around to doing something about it.

I occasionally snore

Or at least the Nest Hub thinks I do. The sensors pick up disturbances such as coughing or snoring and logs them, keeping the data on the device rather than sending it to the cloud. Clever as that is, the Hub can’t distinguish between more than one person in the room. So it could be me snoring. It could be my husband. Or it could be one of the previously mentioned children. We’re all blaming each other.

Coughing is (luckily) rare

The second-gen Nest Hub will also use its sensors to monitor any coughing in the room. Given the current pandemic, that data was of more interest than it would usually be. Apart from one or two incidents, the cough bar on the screen was empty. If you don’t want the hub to capture that data – which stays on your device, by the way – you can turn off the mic.

Sleep efficiency is a thing

Perhaps it’s because I go to bed too late and wake up too early (according to the Nest Hub) but apparently I’m an efficient sleeper. Most nights I spent between 95 per cent and 98 per cent of the time in bed actually asleep, instead of scrolling through social media or getting caught in a news loop.

Sleep Sensing is free until the end of the year on the Nest Hub second generation. Google has not yet published potential pricing for the service.