Buying the best sleep tracker is a good first step to being healthier. For most of us, tracking how much we sleep is just another task we aren't quite going to get to. However, knowing how much you are sleeping can help you set goals to create healthier sleeping habits.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the typical adult needs more than seven hours of sleep. However, one in every three adults does not even get that much shuteye every night. Chances are you know you aren't getting enough sleep, but changing your habits can be daunting.
Finding best sleep tracker for your needs can help you turn things around by giving you insights and information on how you sleep. Finding the right one for you means that it fits your needs and budget.
How To Choose The Best Sleep Tracker
There are many reasons why you will want to track your sleep. For some, they want to know how many hours of rest they get every night. For others, they want to check if they are getting enough quality sleep, such as how many hours they spend in REM, light or deep sleep.
The best sleep tracker can help you get answers to these questions. It will also answer questions like how long it takes you to fall asleep and how many times you have woken up during the night. Personal sleep trackers are what you can use at home without having to go to a sleep clinic to measure your sleep. These devices should have an accelerometer that converts your movements into electrical impulses or signals. In short, these sensors can effectively measure how much you move while sleeping.
Another must-have sensor is one that measures your heart rate. Sleep monitors need to measure heart rate to detect sleep stages. For instance, people have different heart rates when in light sleep as they do in a deep sleep. Apart from these two must-have sensors, it might be nice that the best sleep tracker can monitor your brain activity.
Much of the data you get from these sensors will mean nothing to you. That is the reason why the best sleep tracker that you should buy can upload the information it collects to a smartphone or Web-based app. These apps will turn raw numbers into charts or graphs that you can easily interpret.
Not only that, you should be able to store days, months, or even years worth of sleep data so that you can have more insights on how the quality of your sleep has improved or deteriorated across time.
How Accurate Are Sleep Trackers?
Most people will probably get a sleep tracker with their activity tracker or smartwatch. You should be asking how precise and reliable these wearables are when it comes to sleep tracking. The short answer is that they are generally accurate.
However, there are also differences between devices, and that affects how accurate their sleep tracking is. There are devices with enough sensors to know when you have fallen asleep, when you have turned off the lights, and when you go into deep sleep. And some devices can only tell you how long you were tossing and turning, and how long you were off to dreamland.
When you buy a wearable that also doubles as a sleep tracker, it is best to keep in mind that these devices will give you an idea of your sleep duration and quality, but you should not rely on it if you need to track your sleep because of your health.
Sleep trackers can cost anywhere from $30 to $800. It really just depends on how fancy you want to be and what features you want.
How We Reviewed
We took a look at customer reviews, first and foremost. Then we found sleep trackers with a lot o terrific features for a wide range of prices so that there is something for everyone.
The Best Wearable Sleep Trackers Of 2018
What is the best sleep tracker you can get right now? There are two main types of sleep trackers that you can get: wearables and non-wearables. The first one we will go over is the wearable trackers.
The Fitbit Ionic serves a lot of functions. It tracks your activities, it tells you if someone's calling you on your phone, and yes, it can monitor your sleep. Further, you will love its multi-day battery, which means that you will be able to wear it to bed rather than taking it off to charge the batteries at night. Apart from being both an activity tracker and smartwatch, the Ionic can also store music and monitor your heart rates.
It also features an ambient light sensor, which allows the smartwatch to detect if you have turned off the lights for the night.
One of the best things about getting a Fitbit device for sleep tracking is its software. The Fitbit Ionic automatically knows when you are falling asleep and then start recording. It can detect sleep stages and track deep, REM, and light sleep to give you more insights regarding quality. It can even give you ideas that you can use to improve your slumber. The smartwatch also helps you get a consistent schedule for your shuteye.
On Amazon, the Fitbit Ionic has a rating of 3.6 stars out of 5.0. You can buy the Fitbit Ionic from the manufacturer's official store for around $$$ to $$$. But you can also get it from other online retailers at around the same price range.
If you find that price tag too steep, you can choose to buy the Fitbit Versa. The Versa sells for around $$$ to $$$ from online retailers. The more affordable Versa, however, has a plasticky feel and does not have an onboard GPS. It does, however, deliver the same sleep tracking features as the Ionic.
The Fitbit Charge 2 is another Ionic alternative. This device is more of an activity tracker than a smartwatch but has the same sleep tracking features as the more expensive Ionic. The Charge 3, however, does not have an ambient light sensor.
This activity tracker comes in a variety of colors and sizes. The Fitbit Charge 3 sells for $$$ to $$$. On Amazon, it has a rating of 4.1 stars out of 5.0.
The Apple Watch 4 is something that you will like having on your wrist. It is beautiful and made with high-quality materials. If you have an iPhone, this should be the perfect smartwatch for you, allowing you to get smart notifications on your watch, answer calls and text messages, and track your fitness.
This smartwatch comes with an accelerator and a heart rate monitor, enabling it to be an excellent sleep tracker. What's more, the Apple Watch 4 will get an update that allows you to use it for electrocardiography. The Apple Watch 4 can alert you if there is something wrong with your heart rate even as you nap. If your heart rate is elevated while you are sleeping, it will show you an alert and tell you about it.
The best thing about Apple Watch 4 is that you can download your favorite sleep tracking app to serve as the brains. This feature allows you to get the data you need in the format that you can understand.
Consumer technology blog TechRadar gives the Apple Watch 4 a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5.0. This smartwatch is available on online retailers such as B&H Photo and Video or from Apple's online store. Prices range from $$$ to $$$ depending on whether you get the cellular model or not, or what materials you choose for the band and the case.
The Nokia Steel HR is primarily designed to be an activity tracker with an excellent sleep tracker onboard. Rather than checking your phone or fiddling with buttons, the Nokia Steel includes an analog meter that tells you just how active you have been throughout the day. It comes with a step counter, a heart rate monitor and can even send you notifications from your phone.
The OLED wearable gives you automatic sleep tracking that can track the time you retired and how long before you fell asleep. It also tells you when you woke up, and the duration of each sleep stages. Further, the Nokia Steel HR gives you information about your resting heart rate and nifty graphs to show you how your pulse was throughout the night.
With the Nokia Steel HR, you also get a sleep score. This standardized score lets you easily compare the quality of your sleep over time. The sleep score will let you know with just one metric how good your rest was the previous night. You will also love the modern, and minimalist design on the Nokia Steel HR, plus everything works automatically.
However, you might not like how small the screen is that also has problems knowing when to turn itself on. The heart rate tracking might not be reliable as well, and the companion Health Mate app does not connect to social media platforms. It is also difficult to read the smart notifications you get on the device display.
Customers on Amazon give the Nokia Steel HR a rating of 3.7 stars out of 5.0. You can buy this anywhere from $$$ to $$$.
Most of the other sleep trackers we have on this list will merely give you data it gathers from your slumber. Some devices give you insights that you can use to sleep better. Others like the Dreem, do a lot more.
Dreem tracks your slumber duration, sleep onset, heart rate, and position changes.
It then processes all that to give you a sleep score, which is supposed to give you an idea if you had a good night's rest or not. It also tracks your brain activity, one feature that is absent in the rest of the trackers on this list.
Another unique feature is that Dreem tries to coach you on how to get deep sleep. It emits pink noise, and it uses cognitive behavioral therapy via the Dreem Coach feature. The Dreem also helps you relax.
Dreem costs quite a lot. Pricing for this device ranges from $$$ to $$$. More than the price, this device can get uncomfortable because you will be sleeping with a band on your head. Nevertheless, this device gets high marks from reviewers on Trustpilot. It receives a Trustscore of 7.6 out of 10.0.
The Best Non-Wearable Sleep Trackers Of 2018
If you are not comfortable wearing a strap on your wrist or a band on your head, there are non-wearable sleep trackers that you can buy.
The Emfit QS HRV Sleep Monitor tracks heart rate variability. You'd place the no-contact tracker under your the mattress, including several sensors that keeps track sleep stages, breathing rate, heart rate, and HRV. This device is just perfect for light sleepers who might find it cumbersome to wear a smartwatch or fitness tracker to bed.
This device is available on Amazon or the Emfit online store. Prices range from $$$ to $$$, making it a bit too expensive since it works more as an HRV and sleep monitor without the extra features you will see from a smartwatch. It's geared towards serious athletes, instead of those who merely want to quantify their sleep.
The Emfit QS HRV Sleep Monitor has a rating of 4.2 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon. You will like how accurate this device is. However, it does not have a mobile app so you will need to rely on the browser-based app for the analysis of your data. You also cannot use third party apps with this device.
The Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor is another no contact monitor that works even when two people are sleeping on the same bed. It measures your sleep, heart rate, snoring, room environment, and breathing. Beddit 3 will start tracking on its own when it senses that you are getting into bed. The touch sensor will know when you are ready to retire for the night.
Using the data you get from the Beddit 3, you can find out whether you are sleeping well, or not. You can also find out why you have sleepless nights. Then you might want to utilize the data to adjust your routines and develop good sleeping habits.
This portable tracker gets a rating of 3.3 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon. You can buy it from the Apple Store for around $$$ to $$$.
The Nokia Sleep is a thin pad that you insert under your mattress. You can charge your smartwatch and not wear anything on your wrist throughout the night. This gadget will measure sleep quality among other metrics and check your heart rate. What makes the Nokia Sleep unique is that it also controls other connected devices. It can switch off smart lights, or start playing soft relaxing music when you go to bed.
Sleepscore Max looks like a high-end speaker but sends out radio waves to gauge your movements and breathing. The device then uses its collected readings to come up with the SleepScore. The device will also compare your data with millions of other data. This access to big data will help provide you with insights on how to sleep better.
The Best Sleep Tracker For 2018
One good thing about living in 2018 is that you now have the technology and the options to get a device that gives you exactly what you need. If you want the best sleep tracker that also keeps track of your health and fitness, as well as your phone, social media accounts, and even your schedule, then get the Fitbit devices in this list. The Fitbit Charge 2, Ionic, and Versa all deliver outstanding sleep tracking features that are only matched by their fitness tracking tracking capabilities.
If you need something that will help you snooze better, then get the Dreem, which is the only one in this best sleep tracker list to have EEG capabilities. For those that want to sleep without having to wear a device on their head or wrist, they can check out Emfit QS or the Beddit 3. While both are contract-less sleep monitors, the Beddit 3 is the better choice if you do not have the bed all to yourself.
What is the best sleep tracker you can buy right now? The Fitbit Ionic proves that it can do a lot of things. It also features the things that we are looking for in the best sleep tracker, including the accelerometer, heart rate monitor, and multi-day battery life. As the runner-up, the Apple Watch 4 looks good, but the promised ECG feature is not yet activated, and it works only with iOS devices.
Which sleep tracker is the best for you? Tell us about it in the comments!