Gear4 Renew SleepClock pictures and hands-on

No one likes the amount of time we humans have to sleep. Imagine what you could do with that time if you didn't have your eyes shut and your head on a pillow. But of course, without sleep we'd all be in big trouble, and modern life doesn't make it easy to get good-quality kip.

And that's where the Gear4 Renew SleepClock comes in. The company says it's the first contactless sleep monitor, using an RF sensor to detect your sleep pattern, and to see how much you toss and turn in the night. The RF sensor is incredibly sensitive, indeed the firm told Pocket-lint that it could monitor your pulse rate, if need be.

But, there are two things it does monitor, and the first is how you breathe - which is how it can tell what sort of sleep "mode" you're in. The second is the aforementioned movement sensor. To crunch the numbers, you need an iPod Touch or iPhone docked. An app then does all the calculations and provides you with information about how well you slept.

If you're a graph geek, then you'll have kittens when you see how much data it produces. Use the Renew for a few months and you'll get a comprehensive look at how you sleep, for how long, and the quality. We loved this part, and because the Renew is smart enough to know when you're asleep, it's more accurate than any other device on the consumer market.

There's also a wake-up function. This allows you to tell the system what time you need to be awake, and then it will fire an alarm at an appropriate point. It will do this only when you're out of deep sleep, because the company says that if you wake up at the wrong time, it can take your body half a day to get itself running properly again. We've certainly all felt this from time to time.

Gear4 told us that the Renew will go on sale around October, although it looks like the device is already available in the US. To us, it looks fantastic, and the idea of keeping an eye on your sleep could become very addictive, and hopefully have some real health benefits.