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Sleep trackers have become very popular in recent years, particularly among those who have trouble falling or staying asleep. They measure sleep patterns based on factors like nocturnal movement and heart rate. They may also monitor snoring and other sounds using smart listening technology, and also track ambient noise, room temperature, air quality, and light levels.
Many sleep trackers sold today are highly advanced. They record sleep data and provide detailed analytics to users, which can help them modify their routines in order to sleep better. Most sleep trackers are compatible with smartphone apps, as well. They may be wearable, normally on the wrist, or ‘no-contact’ (or non-wearable) trackers that monitor sleep using sensor strips under or on top of the mattress.
Read on to learn more about the styles, characteristics, and functions of sleep trackers. Below you’ll find our picks for the best sleep trackers sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.
Best Sleep Trackers
Best Wearable Sleep Trackers
Editor’s Pick – Fitbit Versa Smart Watch
Best Features – Polar M430 GPS Running Watch
Best Battery Life – Withings Steel Hybrid Smartwatch
Best Non-Wearable Sleep Trackers
Editor’s Pick – Beautyrest Sleeptracker Monitor
Best Non-Wearable Sleep Tracker for Couples – Tomorrow Sleeptracker Monitor
Best Features and Home Automation – Withings Sleep Tracking Pad
Wearable sleep trackers often provide more than sleep data. Many are fitness trackers that record physical activities day and night. In fact, some of the best sleep tracking technology is found in smartwatches.
Virtually all wearable sleep trackers are worn around the wrist. Most are actigraphy monitors that measure movement using built-in accelerometers. Using these readings, the tracker can determine if the wearer had a restless, fitful night, or if they slept peacefully and relatively still. They also track heart rate, another indicator of one’s sleep state.
Advanced wearable sleep trackers go one step further by evaluating sleep quality based on the duration of different sleep cycle stages, as well as the sleeper’s heart rate. Many will produce graphs or visual displays that pinpoint times of the night when the wearer slept exceptionally well – or when their sleep was at its most fitful.
Wearable sleep trackers tend to have price-points that fall between $150 and $250. Although the cost of a wearable sleep tracker usually corresponds with its features and capabilities, this is not always the case. Most are backed by some sort of warranty, as well.
We’ve reviewed and tested dozens of wearable sleep trackers. Our top three picks in this category are listed below.
The Fitbit Versa Smart Watch, our Editor’s Pick in the wearable category, features a sleep and heart rate tracker that monitors activity 24 hours a day. It will track time asleep and sleep stages; wearers can view their data on the device’s dashboard by syncing their watch when they wake up in the morning. The dashboard also provides information about sleep stages and ways to interpret patterns. Additionally, the Fitbit Versa allows owners to set sleep goals – such as eight hours per night – and schedule bedtime and wake-up time reminders.
In addition to sleep-related functions, the Fitbit Versa enables calls and text messages, provides calendar alerts, and can store up to 300 downloaded songs – all without needing a smartphone. It is water-resistant up to 50 meters, making it suitable for swimming as well as running or working out. The Fitbit Versa is widely available for $200 or less, and is backed by a one-year warranty.
The Polar M430 GPS Running Watch, our pick for Best Features, monitors heart rate 24 hours a day through the wearer’s wrist and provides a detailed sleep analysis, including sleep duration and quality in different stages. The Polar M430 also allows wearers to set their preferred sleep time and ‘rate’ their sleep on any given night. Other handy features include a built-in GPS navigator, as well as fitness data and a customizable ‘Polar Running’ training program.
The Polar M430 GPS Running Watch also enables wearers to boost the battery life by a considerable margin. It has a battery life of eight hours when running programs, but wearers can extend the battery life to 30 hours by running it in low-power mode. For those who primarily use the watch for sleeping, this means it will perform for nearly four consecutive nights before it needs to be recharged. The Polar M430 GPS Running Watch is backed by a two-year warranty.
Battery life can be an issue with wearable sleep trackers since activities and programs can drain the battery. The Withings Steel HR Hybrid Smartwatch is a notable exception; its battery can last for up to 25 days, which is significantly longer than average. It also offers advanced sleep tracking that monitors how long it takes wearers to fall asleep, how long they remain asleep, and whether or not they experience sleep interruptions. The watch also provides data for individual sleep stages.
The watch is also ideal for fitness-minded people; it recognizes more than 30 types of workouts and physical activities, and will provide individual data for each. The watch is water-resistant up to 50 meters, making it perfect for swimmers, as well. For those who need a wake-up alarm, the watch will also emit a light vibration at the preset time. The watch itself also features a clean face with a seconds subdial, a rose-gold case, and a smooth leather band. The Withings Steel HR Smartwatch is backed by a one-year warranty.
Non-wearable (or no-contact) sleep trackers are a great option for those who want to monitor their sleep activity but don’t like wearing devices.
Non-wearable trackers record sleep data using infrared technology and strips of material with movement sensors that go on top of or beneath the mattress. The sensors connect to smartphone apps, and some may also be used with Alexa and other home automation systems.
Many non-wearable trackers also monitor heart rate, though they use ballistocardiography, a non-invasive measurement of heartbeats that can be tracked without coming into contact with human skin. They can also measure respiration, another indicator of sleep quality and duration.
Most non-wearable sleep trackers, unlike wearable models, are exclusively designed to monitor sleep data, and may not be able to track daytime physical activities. As a result, non-wearable trackers tend to have lower price-points – generally $100 or less.
We’ve reviewed some of the leading non-wearable sleep trackers on the market today. Below you’ll find our top three picks.
Our Editor’s Pick in the non-wearable category is the Beautyrest Sleeptracker Monitor, a device that offers individualized sleep coaching and advanced data monitoring. The tracker’s sensors rest between the sleeper’s mattress and bedframe, and can monitor heart and breathing rates, body movements, and sleep duration and interruptions during different stages. The sensors are powerful enough to monitor this data through mattresses of any thickness.
The Beautyrest Sleeptracker Monitor is also a standout because it can monitor two sleepers simultaneously while recording separate data and providing each person with individual sleep coaching tips. The AI-based tracking technology will adapt to the sleeper’s unique rhythms in order to provide customized advice. It can be programmed with Alexa and other home automation systems, as well. Please note that Beautyrest exclusively sells products through third-party retailers and prices for the Sleeptracker Monitor will vary by distributor.
Many non-wearable sleep trackers are designed for single sleeper analysis, forcing couples to invest in two devices. The Tomorrow Sleeptracker Monitor is a notable exception. Its sensors track heart and breathing rates, body movements, and other data from two sleepers in the same bed. It also monitors duration and interruptions for various sleep stages and provides both sleepers with tailored advice about sleep habits and strategies.
The Tomorrow Sleeptracker also has a built-in timer that will wake sleepers up at preset times or periods of their sleep cycle. Because everyone sleeps differently, this feature ensures that each user will wake up at the time that makes them feel the most rested and alert. It is compatible with Alexa and other home automation systems, as well; owners simply sync the Sleeptracker Monitor’s app with their automation system. Both the one and two-person trackers are available for less than $100, making the Sleeptracker Monitor from Tomorrow a high-value option for buyers.
The Withings Sleep Tracking Pad is a cutting-edge device that comes loaded with high-tech features and functions. It monitors sleep duration and interruptions during all sleep stages and provides customized guidance for getting a good night’s rest. The Sleep Tracking Pad also monitors snoring – a rare feature among non-wearable trackers – as well as heart rate. Every morning users receive a ‘Sleep Score’ based on the recorded data; additional coaching is available through the Withings Health Mate app.
The Sleep Tracking Pad is compatible with Alexa and other home automation systems. By prompting the system for information about ‘Withings,’ owners can review their nightly sleep data and patterns without pressing a button. The device also automatically syncs with home Wi-Fi once the pad has been installed beneath the owner’s mattress. The Withings Sleep Tracking Pad is available for less than $100; Amazon Prime members qualify for free one-day shipping when they order the device from that site.
If you’ve spent any time outdoors in the past few years, chances are you’ve encountered a person wearing a fitness tracker. Fitness trackers are everywhere these days, smart wristbands that help people meet their fitness goals, eat better, and improve their overall health.
But devices like these aren’t just helpful during your waking hours. Sleep tracking functionality often goes overlooked among fitness trackers, and yet sleep is a critical part of your overall health. Without sufficient sleep, you’ll be less motivated to meet your fitness goals, have cravings for junk foods and sugar, and increase your risk of illness.
Sleep trackers, both standalone bed systems and as part of wearable fitness trackers, are powerful tools for tracking your fitness needs – both during the day and at night.
The good news is there are dozens of sleep trackers today. That’s also the bad news. With so many sleep trackers available, it can be overwhelming to weed through your options to find the best sleep tracker for your needs.
We’ve written this guide to help you. We’ll review how sleep trackers work, common design features, and important shopping tips to consider. Then, we’ll share our top picks for the best sleep trackers of 2018.
There are two main kinds of sleep trackers: wearable devices that double as fitness trackers (like smartwatches or wristbands), and standalone no-contact systems that are designed to stay with your bed (typically via a thin fabric strip you place under the mattress or a cover that lies under your sheets on top of the mattress). Sleep trackers are also available as smartphone apps, but you’ll find the more advanced technology in the physical products.
At a minimum, sleep trackers track when you fall asleep, when you wake up, and how much time you spend asleep. How are they able to do this?
In the case of wearable sleep trackers, they monitor your sleep using actigraphy. Actigraphy monitors movement through the accelerometer in the wearable device. Just like the accelerometer in your smartphone, it’s able to sense when you’re moving and calculate how many steps you take. If you’re lying still for an extended period of time, as one does when you’re asleep, the accelerometer notes that lack of movement, and translates it into total sleep time.
Since contact-free sleep trackers are tied to your bed, they can’t sense when you start walking around. Instead, these devices rely on infrared technology and movement sensors in the fabric strip to determine when you wake up. They also use ballistocardiography to measure changes in your heart rate.
Many wearable sleep trackers also include heart rate tracking capability. While its primary purpose with those devices is to assess your cardio fitness level, your heart rate does lower as you sleep and changes during the different stages of sleep.
Advanced sleep trackers asses your sleep quality by revealing the amount of time you spend in each stage of sleep. Each night, we cycle through four stages of sleep, from light to deep to REM, before repeating the cycle again. Based on your total sleep time and changes in your heart rate, sleep trackers will estimate how much time you spent in each stage of sleep.
Whether sleep trackers are effective is still somewhat up for debate within the scientific community. Generally, scientists agree that sleep trackers are reasonably accurate at detecting whether you are asleep or not. However, they’re less bullish on their ability to determine the time spent in individual stages of sleep. Either way, if you want help sticking to a regular sleep schedule and ensuring you get enough sleep each night, monitoring your sleep with a sleep tracker can be a smart way to do it.
To use your sleep tracker, you simply keep wearing the device as normal when you go to bed, or, in the case of no-contact sleep tracking systems, hop into bed.
Below is an overview of the common features available with sleep trackers. If any stand out to you as especially exciting, make a note to look for that feature as you start shopping.
More advanced sleep trackers offer more than just sleep time and sleep stage analysis. They may also include smart listening technology, in order to detect signs of snoring or breathing irregularities.
Contactless sleep tracking systems usually monitor your bedroom environment as well. They’ll track ambient noise from your bedroom, air quality and temperature, and darkness level. For the most restful sleep possible, you need a bedroom that’s dark, quiet, and cool. Contact-free sleep trackers can reveal whether your bedroom is set up for restful sleep, and they’ll provide tips for improvement, such as lowering the temperature.
Many sleep trackers include advanced analytics, so you can gain a better picture of your overall health. You can track your bed- and wake-times from the past few days, weeks, or months, and see how your overall sleep time is affected. Advanced sleep trackers will overlay snoring and sleep stage metrics, too. Some trackers will give you a Sleep Score based on these metrics, giving you a goal to work towards with suggestions on achieving better sleep.
With wearable sleep trackers, you can view your activity level alongside your sleep patterns, allowing you to better understand how your sleep affects your daily life, and vice versa.
Because it is easier for us to wake from light sleep than deep sleep, many sleep trackers also offer “smart alarm” capabilities. You specify a time frame in the morning that you want to wake up (say between 7 and 7:30am). Then the device uses your total sleep time to make an educated guess on when, during that time frame, you’ve entered light sleep, in order to wake you up at the ideal moment (such as 7:22am).
Both wearable sleep trackers and contact-free bed systems usually offer “silent” alarm technology, waking you up through vibration instead of a noisy alarm clock.
Nearly all sleep trackers come with an accompanying smartphone app. Since wearable devices have a small LED screen, and bed monitors have no screen at all, the smartphone app is an easier way to view all of your metrics.
You’ll also sync your phone with the sleep tracker via Bluetooth or a wireless connection, in order to view your analytics on the app. With wearable devices, this sync technology enables you to receive smartphone notifications, like texts and phone calls, on the device itself.
Wearable sleep trackers are designed to be comfortable to wear 24/7. They typically feature a minimal design in a variety of colors, to suit different preferences. They’ll come with adjustable wristbands in a few sizes so you get one that matches your wrist size.
However, some people may find the fabric irritating, or that the displays snag on bedding when you move during sleep, waking you up. Read online reviews before purchasing to see how other customers’ experiences are to ensure you find a good fit.
No-contact sleep trackers are usually made from a thin strip, fabric pad, or thin cover that lies on your mattress.
Contact-free sleep trackers must stay plugged into the wall in order to work, although some may also offer USB charging.
Wearable sleep trackers boast long battery lives, lasting several days. This way, you can take it with you on long trips, forget your charger, and not be out of luck. However, you will need to take it off periodically in order to let it charge. Most people do this while they shower or get ready in the morning.
Before you shop for a sleep tracker, review the following questions. Your answers will narrow your search significantly.