Best Sleep Tracker & Buying Guide
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All of us needs sleep as it is the most powerful form of rest and recovery. But for most of us, especially at this age of phones and tablets, getting the right amount of sleep is becoming more challenging. Many factors affect the quality and duration of our sleep. This is where sleep trackers help us monitor the level and integrity of our sleep. These small, hand-held, and handy items can analyze a series of data and are capable of making recommendations on how we can improve our sleep. Unfortunately, many of these trackers are not accurate. So how do we determine the most accurate sleep trackers that can fit our lifestyle? Let’s take a look at the best sleep trackers available in the market that will make sleeping and snoozing a lot more fun and fulfilling.
Top Picks for Sleep Trackers
#1. Oura Ring - Editors Choice & Best Overall
If you want a sleep tracker but don’t want any medical looking accessory, then the Oura Ring is for you. Yes, it’s a ring that can help you track sleep patterns among other things. The nice thing about this is the ring goes well with just about anything that you are wearing. It can practically complement your suit or any type of clothing. Its elegance makes it more of jewelry rather than a health aide. The ring is made of titanium with a carbon coating giving it a sleek finish. The Oura Ring comes in 2 shapes (Balance and Elegant), and both shapes are available in four colors.
The only indication that the Oura Ring is more than just jewelry is its inner rim. This is where you’ll find the sensors. The contact points in the inner rim have a smooth finish so as not to irritate your skin.
The Oura Ring focuses on three key areas, Readiness, Sleep, and Activity. Since the surface of the ring is too small for a screen, the information that the Oura collects can be viewed using Oura’s sleep tracking app. This app is available for both iOS and Android users. You don’t even have to remove the ring to check your statistics since the ring connects and syncs to your mobile device via bluetooth.
The Sleep section provides you a sleep score. The sleep score is derived from your total sleep, sleep efficiency, tranquility, latency, and timing. It also measures the amount of REM and deep sleep that you had. These sleep data can pinpoint exactly the period of sleep you need to improve on.
The battery life of the Oura Ring should be up to 7 days. Charging the Oura is pretty straightforward, place the ring on the charging stand that comes with it, and it will wirelessly charge the ring within a couple of hours.
More reasons to trust the Oura Ring
- Advance Pulse Measurement – The Oura Ring has Infrared LEDs that measure blood volume pulse directly from the palmar arteries of your finger.
- NTC Body Temperature Sensor – This reads your body temperature while sleeping. The data collected can be compared to the previous readings. The comparison will show your body temperature baseline and any other variations. With this unique feature, you can determine at which temperature can you achieve the best and optimal sleep. It also gives you an idea if a change in temperature resulted in a sleep disruption.
- 3D Accelerometer – This detects the amplitude and intensity of your body movement. This indicates your level of activity during the day, while tracking the times of inactivity.
Buying Tip: Does it Offer Deep Sleep Tracking?
One of the things that you should check before purchasing a sleep tracker is if it can measure deep sleep. Sleep trackers must be capable of monitoring your movements and sleep cycle while identifying the sleep stage you are in. They must also factor in your breathing pattern and your heart rate. These vitals change allowing a sleep tracker to determine your period of deep sleep.
#2. Garmin vívosmart® 4 - Close Second
The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a wearable that is capable of collecting and analyzing fitness data. It comes with the Garmin Connect App where you can further analyze the various data and activity measurements. It can measure your energy reserves by measuring your heart rate variability, stress levels, sleep amount, sleep quality, and activity.
This slim waterproof band has a wide variety of sensors that monitor your vitals. The Vivosmart 4 has an advanced sleep monitoring feature that tracks your sleep including REM. It can also gauge blood oxygen saturation levels during the night through its Pulse OX2 sensor. The sleep tracker is as accurate as it can be. It lets you pinpoint exactly when you woke up and when you returned back to sleep.
Vivosmart 4 also measures health markers like the level of blood oxygenation through its small pulse oximeter. This is a useful feature especially if you have high cholesterol or if you are suffering from sleep apnea.
What’s nice about the Vivosmart 4 is its diminutive size. After wearing it for some time, you can hardly notice that you are wearing one. Being lightweight makes it more unobtrusive. The downside with its size is the OLED touchscreen being tiny as well. Users with large fingers should have enough patience to navigate and control the screen. Another feature that is missing is a GPS functionality. Without GPS, tracking your mileage when you jog will be a hit or miss.
More reasons to get the Vivosmart 4
- Vibration Alert – The vibration alert is not just limited to data about your vitals. You can use the Vivosmart 4 to alert you about mobile notifications like calls or text messages if you are an Android user. You can also use it to wake you up in the morning.
- Activity Tracking – Vivosmart 4 can track your activities including the number of floors you climbed, the distance you traveled, and the calories you burned. This fitness tracker helps you determine the amount of exercise you get through daily physical activities.
- Good Battery Life – The battery life can last up to 7 days. It can get fully charged within an hour of recharging.
Buying Tip: Make Sure Your Tracker is Accurate
Accuracy is of paramount importance when purchasing sleep trackers. A sleep tracker provides you with insights on your sleep quality and it can suggest ways of improving them. If a sleep tracker is inaccurate, it already defeats the goal of improving one’s sleeping pattern. You might also end up following a game plan that will not yield the best results. All the options you see on this page were vetted for accuracy. There are a lot of options out there that are flat out a waste of money. Don't fall for them.
#3. Withings Sleep Tracking Mat
The Withings Sleep Tracking Mat is ideal for those who want to keep track of their sleep but doesn’t want any wearables. Just set the mat in your bed, sleep on it, and it will do the job as expected. Among the things that it tracks is your sleep duration, sleep onset, and time to wake. It also takes note of your sleep cycles like your deep, light, and REM phases. It even monitors your average heart rate while sleeping. By compiling and analyzing all these data, the Sleep Tracking Mat can generate a Sleep Quality Score, which can be a basis for improving your sleep patterns.
Using your Quality Sleep Score, this device also gives you a dedicated coaching program which you can use to address your weak points. Think of it as your trainer helping you improve your sleep quality. This coaching program called Sleep Smarter Programme can help reduce fatigue, improves overall health, and supports weight management.
The Sleep Tracking Mat also has a feature called IFTTT. This feature creates home automation scenarios to come up with an environment suitable for your sleeping pattern. Withings can also act as a switch that can control light, thermostats, and other devices that affects sleep.
You can conveniently access all this information via your mobile phone be it iOS or Android. Just connect the Sleep Tracking Mat to your mobile device using Bluetooth. You can even use Alexa to monitor your progress. The only thing that I wish they have is the ability to connect the Sleep Tracking Mat to a computer.
The system is easy to set-up and won’t give you any problems even if you’re not tech-savvy.
More about Withings Sleep Tracking Mat
- Easy set-up – Set up the device and connect it to your mobile device once and you’re good to go.
- Automatic Sync – Your data is automatically updated while you sleep. The Sleep Tracking Mat sends data to your mobile device via wifi to make sure that you always have an access to your latest sleep data.
- Non-intrusive – You’re not required to wear anything for the Sleep Tracking Mat to work. Just lie down and let the Sleep Tracking Mat do all the work.
Buying Tip: Purchase a tracker you will actually use
Sleep trackers, especially the wearable ones, will end up as part of your everyday wardrobe. This is why it is essential to look for one that will be easy to wear while complementing your clothing. It will be best to choose a wearable that will not attract too much attention. If you are required to wear corporate attires, it is sensible to choose a sleep tracker in moderate colors.
#4. Emfit QS HRV Sleep Monitor
Emfit QS (Quantified Sleep) is a sleep tracker that you put under your mattress to monitor your sleep. It’s a collection of sensors covered in a soft, flexible material. The choice of material means that you won’t feel any part poking at you or disrupting your sleep. Since the device goes under the mattress, you won’t accidentally move it while you’re asleep.
Aside from tracking your sleep stages and your sleep quality, the Emfit QS also monitors your Heart Rate Variability (HRV), balance, breathing rate, and heart rate. This is a versatile device that doesn’t limit itself to analyzing your sleep habits. It also tells you how to improve your performance while awake.
The HRV is of particular importance. In simple terms, HRV is the variation in time between heartbeats. Research indicates that lower HRV values are associated with your body being in a state of recovery from stress. Taking a careful look at your HRV trends makes you aware when your body is overworked or when its not recovering enough from an injury.
The Emfit QS has a sleek design, and you can get it in either black or white. It comes with a cord that you can attach to the sensor that allows it to connect to a Wifi. The device has been calibrated so that it can work in a single bed or double bed whichever you prefer.
One issue with the design is that the heart sensing strip is half the width of a double bed. If you share your bed with a partner, you’ll have to carefully position the Emfit QS so that it’s directly under your chest. There is also the danger of inaccurate readings if you move a lot while sleeping since your body may not be directly positioned on top of the monitor.
What separates the Emfit QS from other sleep trackers is the fact that it doesn’t require you to sync data to your mobile phone. The Emfit QS connects directly to your home Wifi, and you can access your information by using their web platform. One drawback it that the Emfit Qs is not accessible via a mobile phone app. Their web platform gives you a glance at the readouts that the device took while you are sleeping. You have the option to drill down into each metric so you can study each one in more detail. This information can be stored in a CSV format. You can also share your data with your doctor or wellness coach using the Team Sharing Option.
More reasons to get the Emfit QS
- Long-term trends – The Emfit QS can track up to 360 days’ worth of data. This is useful in keeping an eye on the effects of your training, medication, or change in lifestyle that you implemented.
- Non-wearable – Just set it up, lie down and let the Emfit QS do its job.
- Team Sharing – Lets you share your data to your doctor or wellness coach for a more accurate interpretation.
#5. Fitbit Charge 3
The Fitbit Charge 3 looks and feels like a smartwatch, but it’s not. There is no way for you to install third-party applications. It won’t let you send messages or make calls. Even though it fails for being a true smartwatch, it successfully created a niche for itself as a watch that is capable of monitoring your well-being.
This Fitbit sleep tracker is a beefed-up version of the Fitbit Charge HR. You have the option to get a leather or silicone watch band. I opted for the silicone watch band because it is softer and won’t be abrasive even if worn for an extended period. The leather one will be ideal for those who are used to wearing corporate attire because the leather band will definitely complement the wardrobe. The good news is, the bands are interchangeable.
There are built-in apps that you can use to monitor your sleep and exercise levels. Aside from time apps, there are also apps to monitor the weather.
Fitbit Charge 3 decided to concentrate on the bare basics, and it’s a good thing too because you don’t have any of the distractions that come with smartwatches.
The Fitbit Charge 3 has heart rate sensors that monitor your heart rate 24/7. The data collected by the heart rate sensors are then processed using a unique system algorithm to provide you with a more in-depth analysis of your heart condition.
It also monitors how many calories you burn in a day so you can check if you are reaching your daily goals. The Auto Sleep Tracking feature lets you see how long you’re in light, deep, and REM sleep. This Fitbit Sleep Tracking app gives insights on how you can improve your sleep quality.
Another great feature of Charge 3 is the Female Health Tracker. It’s a Fitbit app that tracks periods. It also records symptoms and estimates ovulation and fertility windows. This is an excellent app for those who are planning to start a family.
More reasons to get the Fitbit Charge 3
- Waterproof Design – You can wear your Fitbit Charge 3 even when you’re swimming or taking a shower. This lets you continue monitoring your health without the fear of damaging the device.
- Long battery life – The battery of the Fitbit Charge 3 can last up to 7 days. This means fewer instances of charging. The battery life is also much longer than those of regular smartwatches.
- The screen is bright and big – This is an improvement that older user will appreciate because it is easier to read even without the need for bifocals.
#6. SleepScore Max
If you’re not fond of wearables and also don’t want to lie down on a sleep tracker, then the SleepScore Max is what you need. Just place the SleepScore Max near your bed, and it will start monitoring the quality and quantity of your sleep. Sleep Score Max uses ultra-low power radio waves to measure your breathing and movements throughout the night. SleepScore Labs create sleep Score Max based on the technology from ResMed. ResMed is a giant company that specializes in respiratory and sleep apnea conditions. SleepScore Labs is collaborating with ResMed, Pegasys Capital, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, popularized as Dr. Oz.
SleepScore Max has its system to evaluate you on sleep duration, wake time, deep sleep, light sleep, REM and the time it took you to fall asleep. When you wake up, the app that comes with the Sleep Score Max provides you with your sleep quality score. It also gives you some insights that are actively affecting your sleep quality. It will provide you with actionable steps on what you can do to improve your sleep.
The Sleep Score Max device is minimalist in design. You won’t find any touchscreen displays on it. The device looks like one of those small USB speakers that are used in personal computers. Its utilitarian design means it will blend in with just about any bedroom design. The device is compatible with iOS or Android phones allowing anyone to download the companion app into mobile phones. The one complaint about the app is that it takes longer to register initially. You’ll be asked several questions with regards to your health, which can be time-consuming, Even this is the case, the answers that you provide will eventually help you understand your sleep objectives and improve your overall health.
One complaint about the SleepScore Max is the alarm clock functionality. You can, but it doesn’t wake you at the exact time you set the alarm. Because SleepScore Max monitors the stages of your sleep, it knows when you are sleeping lightly. If the device finds you sleeping lightly close to the time for your alarm, it will set off the alarm. The rationale is that it prevents you from drifting into a deeper stage of sleep when you’re so close to waking. This is a brilliant device, but some will not appreciate getting deprived of those five precious minutes of sleep, no matter how light that sleep is. You can disable the alarm clock or use a silent alarm. Another option is to use a smart alarm clock just for this particular function.
Another downside of the SleepScore Max is that it is not portable. Unlike wearables that you can take wherever you like, it’s difficult to bring the SleepScore Max while traveling. Sure, you can stick it in your luggage and set it up in your hotel room. But this may be too much work for a sleep tracker.
More reasons to get the SleepScore Max
- The SleepScore Max uses echo-location technology – You don’t have to wear or even lie down on the SleepScore Max for it to work. You have to place it near you when you sleep.
- Top of the line – The technology being used by SleepScore Max is based on 12 years’ worth of scientific research by ResMed.
- Sleep Report – The SleepScore Max can also generate a report regarding your health that you can present to your doctor.
Sleep Trackers Compared
|Sleep Tracker||Accuracy||Battery Life||Data Accessibility||Rating||Our Review||Buy Now|
|Oura Ring||Best Available||Excellent||Yes via App - iOS and Android||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|Garmin Vivosmart 4||Best Available||Very Good||Yes via App - iOS and Android||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|Withings Sleep Tracking Mat||Good||Battery Not Needed||Yes via App - iOS and Android||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|Fitbit Charge 3||Good||Good||Yes via App - iOS and Android||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|SleepScore Max||Good||Battery Not Needed||Yes via App - iOS and Android||Read Full Review||Check Price|
|Emfit QS HRV Sleep Monitor||Good||Battery Not Needed||Yes via App - iOS and Android||Read Full Review||Check Price|
Types of Sleep Trackers
Sleep trackers come in different shapes and sizes. They also use different methods to accurately gauge sleep. The type that you should buy fully depends on your lifestyle as long as you maximize the full functionality of the sleep tracker you are choosing.
Ring sleep trackers are the smallest kind available in the market. This is ideal for those who are not used to wearing watches. They also go well with almost anything that you wear, so you don’t have to worry about the sleep tracker looking awkward against your wardrobe. The downside with ring sleep trackers is they can get scratched. They are usually made of smooth materials like zirconia or a metal alloy. Scratches can be highly visible in these materials.
Bracelets are suitable for those who have active lifestyles. They are lightweight, have accelerometers, and won’t hamper your movement even when you are jogging. Most bracelet sleep trackers are also waterproof, so there is no need to remove them even when you are swimming or taking a shower. An example of this type is the Xiaomi Mi Band.
This type is similar to bracelets. You have to double check if they are waterproof before deciding to wear them during a swim. The good thing about this type is that the screen can readily display values and statistics.
This type of sleep tracker is for those who don’t want to use wearable sleep trackers. They don’t require any direct contact with the body. This type may pose a problem for those who move a lot while sleeping or those who share their bed. Sleeping with a company may affect the accuracy of the sleep trackers such as the mat types.
Sensors are the best type for those who don’t want any physical contact with a sleep tracker. You can simply place it on your bedside table. The downside is that the data gathered can be limited as compared to when sleep trackers are in contact with you. If you happen to fall asleep on a couch, your sleep trend and recording will then be inconsistent or interrupted.
Sleep Trackers, Cycles and Apps
What is a sleep tracker?
A sleep tracker is a device that monitors your sleeping pattern. It usually measures the quality and duration of your sleep. They have several features that are capable of providing tips on improving sleep quality.
Aside from tracking sleep patterns, most sleep trackers have unique features. Some can function as pedometers so you can track your progress while jogging. There are also some that can measure the number of calories you burn daily. This is a great help for those who are on a weight loss management.
Some sleep trackers also have smartwatch capabilities notifying the user for new emails, text messages, or incoming calls.
What does a typical sleep cycle look like?
A typical sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. Throughout the said cycle, you move through the five stages of sleep. The first four stages are non-rapid eye movement while the fifth one is when we have rapid-eye movement.
The first four stages are where we sleep lightly. Those who are in the first stage are sleeping very lightly. Those who are in the fourth stage are harder to wake-up. During these first four stages, our muscles can function, but with very little muscle activity. Our eyes do not move in these stages.
REM Sleep is the final stage of sleep. In this stage, we have bursts of rapid eye movements, hence the name. Even though our eyes are not always moving, they dart back and forth, up and down. This is the stage of sleep where dreams occur. Although it is not yet confirmed, rapid eye movements may be associated with visual images of dreams.
Most wearables can track sleep, but can we really benefit from them?
We can learn a lot from sleep trackers. Because of the various data that they collect, they help us pinpoint the times when we have difficulty in sleeping. We can then associate sleep interruptions to events that may have disturbed our sleep. For instance, some may find that they usually wake up when there is a sudden change in room temperature. This may prompt us to purchase temperature regulators that can help prevent such disruptions.
What is the best sleep app?
There are a lot of sleep tracker apps, but for me, the best sleep app is Sleep available for Android users. This is a standalone app that aims to improve sleep irregularities. It can track your sleep pattern and provide you with a graph of your sleeping records. It also has lullaby tunes to help you sleep. It also has an alarm clock that wakes you up and can be customized to nature sounds, so you don’t get jolted out of sleep. It has a free version and a premium version available as an in-app purchase. The free version is available for a 14-day trial period.
When should I use sleep tracking wearables to help improve sleep?
You should use sleep tracking wearables if poor quality sleep is already affecting your daily productivity. Since sleeping is your way to rest and recuperate, the lack of sleep can zap you of the energy you need to function properly during the day. People who don’t get enough sleep are unable to focus and are more likely to be forgetful. If you are exhibiting the symptoms of lack of sleep, sleep tracker can help you pinpoint the source of your inability to maintain a good night’s sleep.
Our overall health and well-being are things that we should never take for granted. Recent statistics show that one of three people are not getting enough sleep, which could result in grogginess and distraction. A more serious effect of sleepless nights is health-related risks such as diabetes, heart diseases, depression, hormone imbalances, and formation of cancers.
But thanks to the technological advancements today such as the introduction of sleep trackers that we can readily exploit. With sleep trackers, we are now capable of measuring sleep patterns through a series of data recordings. Sleep trackers may cost money, but they are worthy investments in terms of understanding and improving sleep quality and sleep duration. It helps us decode the things happening during our sleep, especially at times when we are challenged to enjoy the comfort of our bed.
How we came up with this list
Any sleep trackers reviewed on this site is judged by 8 standards:
- Ease of Use
- Data Accessibility
- Aesthetic Design (wearable only)
- Comfort (wearable only)
- Battery Life (wearable only)
Read our full methodology and review process for sleep trackers here.