Quake, rattle, and then roll out of bed

From the Department of Overstating the Obvious comes word from wearable-tech company Jawbone that most of its customers living close to Napa when the magnitude-6.0 quake struck Sunday and wearing the company’s sleep-monitoring wristband experienced the same reaction:

They woke up.

According a Jawbone blog post, the company’s Data Science team looked at the data coming in from folks wearing the UP device, which lets users track their sleep patterns, eating habits and other routine activity:

Napa, Sonoma, Vallejo, and Fairfield were less than 15 miles from the epicenter. Almost all (93%) of the UP wearers in these cities suddenly woke up at 3:20AM when the quake struck. Farther from the epicenter, the impact was weaker and more people slept through the shaking. In San Francisco and Oakland, slightly more than half (55%) woke up. As we look even farther, the effect becomes progressively weaker — almost no UP wearers in Modesto and Santa Cruz (and others between 75 and 100 miles from the epicenter) were woken up by the earthquake, according to UP data.

While that’s hardly an earth-shaking discovery, given the rolling wallop that the temblor delivered throughout much of Northern California while most of us were asleep, it’s also kind of cool that data-crunchers and this state-of-the-art technology can actually “see” scores of people throughout a particular region waking up at exactly the same moment.

But there’s more (if equally unsurprising) news:

Once awaken, it took the residents a long time to go back to sleep, especially in the areas that felt the shaking the strongest. In fact, 45% of UP wearers less than 15 miles from the epicenter stayed up the rest of the night.

Again, sort of cool, if in a slightly creepy way. It’s as if UP were some all-knowing, omnipresent baby-sitter who knows when you are sleeping, who knows when you’re awake.

Maybe they should just change the name of  “UP” to “Santa.”

Graphic by Jawbone

Patrick May Patrick May (316 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.