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Some days, you wake up refreshed. Others, it feels like you barely slept at all. What separates the good nights from the bad isn’t always clear, but a sleep tracker can provide valuable insight. It monitors your sleep patterns for a clearer picture of how much quality sleep you’re getting. You can use this information to help optimize your sleep experience.
While lab-based sleep tests generally track patterns directly through brain activity, sleep trackers rely on sensors to detect other physical signs, like heart rate and body movement. Wearable devices remain on the sleeper throughout the night to measure data. Other trackers may rest on the mattress, under the mattress, or next to the bed to collect information unobtrusively. Virtually all sleep trackers upload this data to a device that runs it through an algorithm to analyze and display the results.
We’ll highlight some of our favorite sleep trackers and share what makes them stand out. We’ll go on to explain what to consider while you shop and answer common questions about sleep trackers.
Best Wearable Sleep Tracker
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The WHOOP wraps around the wrist to collect personalized sleep data without being cumbersome or interruptive. The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is lightweight, waterproof, and has a 5-day battery life to make it easier to wear around the clock.
Information transfers in real time so that you have instant access via a mobile or desktop app as soon as you wake up. WHOOP detects how much time you spend in bed, along with your sleep efficiency, respiratory rate, nighttime disturbances, sleep stages, and how long it takes you to fall asleep. It also calculates your baseline sleep needs, your recovery needs depending on recent strain, and your sleep debt to help give you a better idea of how much you should rest. Users can also review their weekly sleep performance to look for trends.
In addition to its sleep data, WHOOP assesses other factors that may provide insight for physically active individuals. A Strain Coach recommends exertion levels based on your current level of recovery.
Through WHOOP, you can create custom teams to help you stay motivated towards your fitness goals. To review your workouts, share them on social media, or assess them with your personal trainer, you can record video live in the app and overlay your heart rate, calorie information, and other details.
The base cost of the actual device is built into the price of starting an ongoing subscription with WHOOP’s tracking service. This subscription is necessary to track and access data. While a basic strap is included with the price of a subscription, shoppers can also upgrade to another style for an additional fee. With more than a dozen color options to choose from, shoppers can easily customize the look of their WHOOP Strap.
WHOOP pairs with a smartphone or computer via Bluetooth. The band works in conjunction with the WHOOP app, which is available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play.
Best Non-Wearable Dedicated Sleep Tracker
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The low profile of the Withings Sleep allows it to unobtrusively collect data on your sleep experience from underneath your mattress. Sensors in the device detect heart rate, breathing, and movement. This data is processed to produce reports on your sleep cycle, heart rate, and breathing, with an overall sleep score.
The device also detects snoring and interruptions in breathing. It is designed to look for some of the signs of sleep apnea. Paired with the app, the Withings Sleep assesses cardiac and thoracic activity that may be indicative of the condition. This could help you identify if this is a potential issue to address with your doctor.
The device communicates with the associated app via Wi-Fi, and it automatically syncs to the app to transfer data when you get out of bed in the morning. The app produces a daily report with a quick overview of your sleep. You can also generate a PDF report to share with your doctor.
Since the Withings Sleep plugs into the wall, it does not require charging. The Withings Sleep is compatible with other smart devices. If This Then That (IFTTT) integration allows you to link it to light controls, thermostats, Amazon’s Alexa, and other devices. By connecting these smart devices, you can set up your lights and room temperature to change when you get into or out of bed.
The Withings Sleep is compatible with most common mattress types, including innerspring, foam, and latex. It has been tested with models between 4 inches and 15 inches thick. The app must be installed on a phone or tablet for use, as the system cannot be set up from a computer. It is compatible with iOS 10 and higher and Android 8.0 and higher. It comes with a 1-year warranty when sold by Amazon or Withings.
Best Smartwatch With Sleep Tracking
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Fitbit is one of the most well-known fitness tracker companies on the market. The Fitbit Versa combines the brand’s popular health tracking with smartwatch capabilities for convenient everyday use.
Crafted for constant activity tracking, the Fitbit Versa monitors your heart rate, which may be useful for analyzing your sleep. Additionally, the device detects when you’re sleeping based on movements. The Fitbit Versa then tracks your sleep pattern to estimate how much time you’ve spent asleep, awake, and restless. You can also look at your average hours slept, sleep score, sleep schedule, and sleep stages to see how these change over time.
Sleepers may also benefit from other aspects of the Fitbit Versa, including its ability to store and play music and podcasts. Users also have the option of syncing the Versa with nearby compatible devices to receive alerts, and access select apps.
In addition to sleep tracking, the Fitbit Versa can play workouts so that you can follow along, and track your workout in more than 20 exercise modes. Since it is water resistant up to 50 meters, it can also track your swimming laps. Additionally, the Fitbit Versa can connect to your phone’s GPS for pace and distance information. The device is equipped with Fitbit Pay, a contactless payment method.
The Fitbit Versa has a 6-day battery life, but this can vary depending on usage and other factors. With the device’s fast charging capabilities, users can get up to a full day’s charge in 12 minutes. This smartwatch has a slim, lightweight design with an aluminum watch body and unobtrusive appearance. Each watch comes with small and large bands for a comfortable fit.
The Versa uses Bluetooth technology and is compatible with many Android, iPhone, and Windows devices, including smartphones and computers. The Fitbit Versa is eligible for Amazon’s 30-day return policy.
Best Sleep Tracker for Runners
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While it’s designed with runners in mind, the Polar M430 provides valuable sleep and fitness insight that may appeal to virtually any user.
This watch-style device fits on the wrist and displays the time. A monitor continuously measures heart rate, while a built-in accelerometer detects motion to determine when the wearer has fallen asleep based on the movement of their non-dominant hand.
Polar Sleep Plus technology analyzes your sleep habits, duration, and quality to help you visualize and optimize your sleep experience. Not only does it help track your total sleep time, but it also pinpoints interruptions and describes how continuous your sleep was for a more complete look at your overall performance. Visual representations make it easy to compare the differences between nights. Users are also encouraged to input a self-evaluation for enhanced feedback that takes into account their subjective ratings.
Runners and other athletes can take advantage of the Polar M430’s many fitness offerings. It monitors heart rate, calories burned, and recovery status; includes integrated GPS to track pace, distance, and altitude; and offers a fitness test to judge performance levels and see how they change. Advanced running features include a personal and adaptive training plan to cater to individual goals, and a running index to see performance over time.
Users can automatically sync their data to services like Strava or TrainingPeaks, and access it via mobile and desktop platforms. The device is compatible with iOS 12 or later, and Android 6 or later with Bluetooth 4.0 capability.
The Polar M430 comes in small and medium/large sizes and is available in white and black. Polar provides a 2-year warranty.
Best Sleep Tracker for Apple Users
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The Beddit Sleep Monitor is a soft, ultra-thin device that rests under the fitted sheet. It connects with an iOS app to upload data for a comprehensive look at your nightly sleep experience.
This tracker monitors multiple factors, including your heart rate, breathing, and sleep time. Additionally, it analyzes the temperature and humidity of the room for insight into how environmental factors may affect your sleep. If you grant the Beddit Sleep Monitor app access to your iPhone’s microphone, it can also detect snoring and present associated data in the daily sleep results.
Each morning, a notification provides instant feedback on how you slept the night before. The full sleep analysis includes total sleep time, bedtime, time to fall asleep, time awake, time away from bed, wake-up time, and sleep efficiency. You can also view graphs that show your sleep time for the last 7, 30, or 90 days, to see your progress and look for trends.
Users can set sleep goals in the app and receive corresponding guidance. In-app sleep tips also aim to help users get better rest. Bedtime reminders give you a gentle nudge to encourage you to go to sleep at a reasonable hour.
The app is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch and requires iOS 12.0 and watchOS 4.3 or later. Through the Apple Watch, users can receive report notifications, nudges, and bedtime reminders. For power, the Beddit Sleep Monitor must be connected to your iPhone or other power source while in use. A Bluetooth-enabled device must also be in the room to receive data in real-time while you sleep.
The Beddit Sleep Monitor should work with most mattresses, but waterbeds and heated mattress pads may make the results less accurate.
Best Discreet Wearable Sleep Tracker
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On the outside, the Oura Ring looks like a fashionable accessory rather than a high-tech device. It is crafted of water-resistant lightweight titanium with a scratch-resistant, diamond-like carbon coating. Color options include gold, silver, black, and stealth. Inside, advanced sensors capture heart rate, heart rate variability, body temperature, and calorie burn for personalized insight into your sleep, activity, and readiness.
The Oura Ring contains an infrared LED sensor to detect heart rate and respiration, a 3D accelerometer to measure activity, and a negative temperature coefficient sensor to monitor body temperature.
Based on this data, the associated app analyzes sleep quality, duration, and stages to produce a personalized sleep score each morning. You can also add tags to track things that may affect your sleep, like consuming caffeine or alcohol, to better understand how your habits connect with your rest. Owners can review daily, weekly, and monthly reports to assess their experience and look for trends.
In addition to analyzing your sleep, you can also use the Oura Ring for insight into other daily activities. The app takes into account both exercise and recovery to determine your overall readiness for more activity.
The Oura Ring has a battery life of up to 7 days and charges fully within 20 to 80 minutes. It can be used on Airplane Mode to help reduce power consumption while allowing you more control of data transmission. The ring can store up to six weeks of data at a time, so you won’t lose your information if you have to be away from your connected device for a while.
If you decide to purchase the Oura Ring, the company will first send you a free sizing kit to help you determine the right fit for your finger of choice. The ring also comes with a charger specifically built for that size.
While the Oura Ring works with an app, users can also access their data on the web, look at advanced charts, and download information. The Oura app is available for iOS and Android and syncs with Apple Health and Google Fit. The ring is compatible with most mobile devices that run iOS 11.0 or above, or Android 6.0 or above.
Oura has a 30-day return policy.
A sleep tracker is a device that monitors one or more aspects that reflect your sleep patterns, habits, stages, quality, and/or duration. This measurement is indirect, relying on more easily detectable physical signals of sleep, rather than basing it on brain activity and eye movement as they do in some formal medical tests.
Most sleep trackers look at heart rate and respiration rate, which are closely linked to sleep stages. Additionally, tracking respiration can help show potential breathing issues, like snoring and sleep apnea. Many trackers also use a small built-in movement-detecting device called an accelerometer to assess how much you move while sleeping, thereby analyzing sleep time and quality.
Some sleep trackers may use a microphone to pick up snoring, movement noise, and ambient noise to judge how well you’re sleeping. Others contain a thermometer to provide data on how room temperature may affect your sleep.
Wearable and non-wearable sleep trackers are available. While they’re usually similar in what sort of data they collect, they may use different methods to do so. Since a wearable device touches the body, it can monitor heart rate, respiration, and movement more directly. Many non-wearable devices rest on or under the mattress and monitor vibrations to gather data. As long as they’re well-calibrated, either device should capture valuable information.
Once collected, tracking devices typically process sleep data through an algorithm and display it in an app so that users can easily review their history, assess how well they’re sleeping, and look for areas of improvement. Some apps may also provide suggestions on how to improve sleep quality based on their findings.
Each sleep tracker has different features and potential benefits, so which option is right for you will depend on your personal needs, preferences, and intended uses. Focusing on specific criteria may make it easier to weigh your options.
We’ll break down some of the top things to look for when purchasing a sleep tracker. While all of these factors matter to a certain extent, some may not be high priorities for you. Assessing what you want in a tracker can help you hone in on the most important aspects.
Sleep Tracking: Sleep trackers capture an array of data that may include heart rate, heart rate variability, respiration, snoring, time awake, time sleeping, sleep interruptions, and body temperature. Some may also monitor room temperature, humidity, noise level, and light. Since trackers vary in what sleep-related factors they detect, shoppers should pay attention to the specific product details to find an option that collects the information that interests them most.
Sleep Analytics: Sleep analytics use the data from sleep tracking to delve more deeply into sleep quality and patterns. They may provide detailed charts to show you how your sleep has changed over time, overlay multiple sets of data to show you how different factors are linked, and provide you with a daily sleep score. Wearable trackers can also link your daily activity levels to the quality and duration of your sleep.
Value: The overall value of a sleep tracker takes into account more than the price-point. It also depends on its usability, features, comfort, and how it affects your life. For instance, an expensive sleep tracker that provides useful insight to help you sleep better may be a better value than a more affordable option that gives limited, unactionable information. When assessing the price, shoppers should also take into account whether the tracker is a one-time purchase or whether they’ll incur monthly costs. Many trackers come with free apps, making them a one-time expense. Others require a monthly subscription, which could cost more if you plan to continue using a sleep tracker in the long run.
Smart Alarm: Waking from deep sleep is typically more difficult than waking from light sleep. Smart alarms allow you to set a designated window during which you need to wake up. The tracker then analyzes your sleep data and assesses when you’re sleeping lightly to wake you at the right moment. Wearable devices can also have a silent alarm that vibrates rather than making a loud noise, which may be ideal for partners who have to wake up at different times.
Comfort: For most sleepers, comfort is paramount. This is especially relevant with wearable devices since they generally make direct contact with the skin. Most wearable trackers come in different sizes, so paying attention to fit should help you ensure your wearable is neither too tight nor too loose. Devices that rest on or under the mattress are usually quite thin, so you’re unlikely to notice them. However, if you’re prone to feeling even the slightest lump on your sleep surface, you may want to consider the device’s dimensions to find the thinnest option possible.
Battery Life: If you plan to use your sleep tracker only for sleep, battery life may not be an essential consideration since most are designed to last at least through the night. However, if you plan to wear a device around-the-clock for activity monitoring, it may be important to assess how long it can go between charges. Most fitness trackers and watches need to be charged every few days. Shoppers should also be aware that bedside trackers and those that rest on or under the mattress typically operate through an external power source, meaning they may need to be plugged in during the night.
Display & Apps: Most sleep trackers use an app to upload, analyze, and display data. Before purchasing a tracker, shoppers should ensure that the app is compatible with their phone, tablet, or other device. Since the app is an integral part of the sleep tracking experience, you may also want to look at the description and reviews in the App Store or Google Play to decide if you’ll like the interface.
Other Features: Sleep trackers often come with additional features, like fitness tracking, GPS, coaching, and integrations with other apps. These components may make your device more versatile, insightful, or convenient, but they can also increase the price-point.
There are several factors to consider when choosing a sleep tracker, and each type has potential benefits and drawbacks. The best type of sleep tracker for you will be whichever most closely meets your goals, needs, and preferences. Several styles are available:
Each sleep tracker is unique, and the accuracy varies based on the design and technology. For most consumers, sleep trackers can help promote general wellbeing and better sleep hygiene. How accurate they are is somewhat undecided within the scientific community, though more sophisticated hardware and software could provide reliable feedback. It should also be noted that a sleep tracker is not a replacement for medical evaluation, especially for older patients and those with chronic medical conditions.
Technology has come a long way in the last few years. While there is a lack of supporting evidence for the widespread accuracy of trackers, research so far is promising. For instance, some data suggests that a multi-sensor tracker can provide insight that is fairly close to that of a polysomnography (PSG) test.
To find the most accurate sleep tracker, shoppers may want to look for manufacturer information on how the device was validated. Many trackers are compared directly against lab-based sleep tests, which are the gold standard in sleep monitoring. These options may be more accurate than those that undergo less extensive testing.
Smartwatches typically track sleep by collecting information from built-in sensors and interpreting the data through an algorithm. They usually rely primarily on movement and heart rate for their assessments, so smartwatches are often more limited in their sleep tracking capabilities than devices engineered specifically for sleep. More advanced sleep trackers often collect other pertinent data, including respiration and snoring. Some also detect room temperatures, noise levels, and additional factors that could impact sleep quality.
How to clean your sleep tracker will depend on its materials and construction, so it is important to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. Some sleep trackers have removable covers that can be washed, while others can simply be wiped down with a damp cloth or cleaned carefully with rubbing alcohol. Following the manufacturer’s instructions can help avoid damage to the sensors that could jeopardize the accuracy of the results.