Can personal health data motivate behavioral change? It depends.

By Dave Dickinson, Former CEO, Zeo

Dave Dickinson Headshot

After leading Zeo for the last 5 years, I’d like to share some of the key lessons we learned as an early pioneer within the digital healthcare movement. This post includes lessons learned for those who share our mission of improving the health and wellness of mankind by leveraging the awesome power of technology. Hopefully, some thoughts will engage new ways of thinking and serve to help guide other healthcare innovators to keep carrying the flag forward. Continue reading →

Sleep Tracking Startup Zeo Says Goodnight

Jon Orlin


One of the early pioneers in the Quantified Self movement has quietly gone out of business. Zeo, a leading maker of hardware and software used by consumers to track sleep and improve their health, has not been operating since the end of last year. A trustee has nearly completed the sale of all company assets. Zeo has been very quiet about the news up until now. In fact, Zeo’s website is still up and doesn’t mention the news.

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“20 negative Amazon reviews on the Zeo “

Could be some of the posts are from the $1000/night sleep centers…I learned more in a week of ZEO, by far, than I did from the sleep center…also, the more well written and persuasive the neg comments on Amazon are, the more likely they are written by vested interest folks. Not saying this is the case here, but it COULD be. My experience is that the ZEO is, after my banjo, one of the best purchases I’ve made. We have TWO of them…

ZEO sleep score, or ZQ formula

So I went to my friend (and cofounder/CTO of Zeo) Ben Rubin for answers.

He explained that the Zeo uses a simple algorithm that computes your total sleep time, REM sleep, deep sleep, time in wake, and how many times you were woken, then uses them to create your total ZEO sleep score, or ZQ.

Here is the formula:

ZQ= {(TST*1) + (REM*0.5 + Deep*1.5) – (TIW*0.5 + #wakenings/15)} *8.5

 ZQ = Zeo Sleep Score
TST = Total Sleep Time
REM = hours in REM
Deep = hours  in deep
TIW = hours in Wake
#wakenings = # of times you woke up

The ZQ score is heavily reliant on total sleep time.  The Zeo is expecting you to sleep at least 8.5 hours.  No matter what you do, if you sleep less than 8.5 hours a night – you’ll get a mediocre score.


“Vitamin D destroyed my deep sleep”

19 August 2012 write up by Chris L using a year of Zeo sleep data where he argues a clear trend exists with vitamin D supplementation reducing his deep sleep


Sunday, August 19, 2012

I want to tell the whole story of how I figured this out, but I will just cut to the data.  Here is a graph of the amount of deep sleep.  Its almost a year of data (Jul 30, 2011-Jul 8 2012).

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