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We all need refreshing, healing sleep to stay healthy, happy and high on energy.
But even when we eat well, exercise and keep stress to a minimum that sweet slumber still sometimes evades us. So how can we get a handle on this nocturnal problem?
The solution is to take control of those precious hours, understand them and maximize their potential with a sleep monitoring device.
The good news is that no longer do you need to submit yourself to a clinic to better understand your sleep patterns. There are a huge number of sleep trackers on the market that can provide deep analysis without being inconvenient or breaking the bank.
We’ve rounded up the best sleep tracker reviews for you to pour over, as well as a quick buying guide to this unusual products.
Let’s take it away…
- 1 Sleep Trackers: Why Buy One?
- 2 Types of Sleep Tracker
- 3 The Best Sleep Monitoring Devices for 2017
- 4 Conclusion
Sleep Trackers: Why Buy One?
Essentially, buying a sleep tracker will arm you with more information about your health.
With one of these devices you will know whether you sleep enough or too much, during which hours you are sleeping soundly and if/when your sleep is troubled.
Armed with this data, steps can be taken to establish good sleep patterns despite demanding children, snoring partners and stressful days, making your nights more peaceful and giving you more spring in your morning step.
Types of Sleep Tracker
Sleep tech is booming right now, and with good reason.
Gone are the days of hooking yourself up to clunky devices in order to get hi-tech, detailed stats on what you’re getting up to whilst you’re unconscious.
Monitoring devices currently fall into three main categories:
- Sleep systems — dedicated freestanding appliances
- Wearable tech (such as fitness trackers)
- Smartphone sleep tracking apps
Smartphone apps offer cheap and simple sleep tracking, but they tend to be less effective and produce less detailed information than other methods.
However, if you’re just getting into sleep tracking, and want to understand more about the process and the data available to you, starting off with a smartphone app is a great idea.
Virtually all fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist have a sleep tracking mode with motion sensing and REM sleep phase tracking. These activity and sleep tracker bands chart your results using user-friendly graphs and tables, usually presented in a smartphone app.
‘Sleep systems’ are sleek, freestanding machines dedicated solely to the purpose of monitoring you and your sleep environment whilst you snooze. They usually sit next to you on your bedside table.
They are convenient, reliable and give you all the important info you need with the added benefit of geek chic.
The Best Sleep Monitoring Devices for 2017
Here’s our roundup of some of the best devices worth grabbing right now:
This unique ball is truly an entire sleep system: not only does it monitor your sleep patterns, but it can help you actually get to sleep and wake up calmly in the morning.
It comes with an array of ambient calming sounds to make your sleep more tranquil, a monitor to improve your quality of rest and advanced environmental sensors to demonstrate how light, sound, temperature, humidity, air quality, and more affect your rest.
All of this, plus a smart alarm which triggers only when you are in the lightest part of your sleep cycle to ensure your wake-up call is gentle and precisely timed to leave you feeling revitalized.
This second generation of the Sense Sleep Pill also allows you voice control over the device — you simply need to speak to the ball to set the alarm, play sleep sounds and even to find out how you slept that night.
Here’s a good introduction to the product:
- Very user friendly, simply connects to your home WiFi
- Sleep Sounds are calming and sleep-inducing
- Sleep analysis also includes helpful tracking of your sleep environment
- Sleep analysis is detailed and seemingly accurate, with good insight into trends and a ‘sleep score’
- Voice control is handy and easy to use
- Attractive design, available in two colors
- You can buy with one or two pills (sensors that attach to your pillow)
- Competitively priced
- No snooze mode so no second chance if you sleep through the alarm
- The ‘Sleep Pill’ part of the device can be tricky to clip onto your pillow
It tracks your movement and heart rate, providing impressively detailed sleep analysis for a wearable. Easy to read charts document your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep, and you’ll be able to spot your trends over time and how you compare to other Fitbit users within your demographic.
Of course, with a Fitbit, you’re not just getting a sleep tracker — it’s also a comprehensive activity tracker too.
Features include tracking steps, distance travelled, floors climbed, heart rate, calories burned, minutes active, individual workouts and more. It will also prompt you to move every hour, connects to GPS to map your routes, and provides notifications from your smartphone.
- Tracks a huge number of metrics
- Detailed and accurate sleep analysis
- Comfortable, silicone watch strap
- Connects to a wide range of apps and services
- Looks like a normal watch rather than a fitness tracker
- Hardwearing and durable
- Rechargeable battery
- Tracks sleep automatically
- Comes with an effective silent alarm, but no smart technology to wake you at lightest point of sleep cycle
- Reasonably expensive
The Aura comes with sound and light effects that track and improve transitions into and out of sleep, and also offers a ‘Smart Wake Up’ at the optimal point in your sleep cycle.
We really like the lighting effects of this sleep tracker that mimic the environment outside. For instance, it provides sunset lighting to relax you prior to sleep, and a more energizing light in the morning as you wake up.
Where it comes into its own is by tracking short naps with specialised programs, as well as the ability to track your sleep on your Smartphone.
Like the Sense above, the Withings Aura is composed of two parts: the bedside table device that controls the sounds and lighting in the room, and a contact-free sensor which you will need to place under your mattress.
As well as tracking the details of your sleep patterns, it will also analyze various environmental features of your bedroom.
- Detailed sleep analysis
- Easy to use Smartphone app
- Smart wake up feature makes sure you’re woken at the lightest point in your sleep cycle
- Pairs with over 100 compatible apps, including Spotify and Nest (the latter can automatically adjust the temperature in your house according to how it’s affecting your sleeping)
- Lighting is designed to either encourage or inhibit melatonin production according to whether you’re falling asleep or waking up
- Sensor will work regardless of the density and thickness of your mattress
- Bedside device is a little bulking
- Smartphone sync isn’t always smooth
- No long term data comparison
One reason why it’s so popular is it’s rock bottom price — ideal for anyone put off by the higher prices of brands like Fitbit.
Elegant in appearance, the Misfit Shine 2 tracks total hours slept by breaking the data down into light and deep sleep, plus it allows you to set sleep goals and alarms to help you get a good night’s rest.
Other features of the Misfit Shine are vibration alerts for calls and text messages, movement reminders and a ‘smart button’ to connect it to other household smart devices.
- Waterproof — you can wear it swimming!
- Sleep-cycle timed wakeup calls based your activity
- Long battery life
- Doubles up as a fitness tracker and notification device for your Smartphone
- Beautiful rose gold design
- Long battery life of around 6 months
- Fewer sleep monitoring features
- Only tracks light and heavy sleep — not REM
Zeo claims to tell you how you really sleep and help you find actionable ways to improve your sleep.
It measures your quality and quantity of sleep via a lightweight wireless headband which combines with a bedside display, SmartWake alarm, a set of analytical online tools, and an email-based personalized coaching program.
This definitely isn’t a low-key sleep tracker — and some people will be immediately put off by the headband — but it’s definitely one of the most accurate trackers on the market.
If you’re serious about sleep tracking, the Zeo Personal Sleep Coach is the next best thing to checking yourself into a sleep clinic.
Here’s a quick look at it:
- Very detailed and accurate sleep monitoring
- Provides actionable advice on how to improve your sleep
- Great user interface
- Headband is lightweight and inobtrusive
- Stores data for up to two weeks
- Provides a sleep score in the morning
- Battery must be recharged after each night
- Headband may not stay in place if you like to toss and turn
For something a little different, the SleepCompanion from Holi isn’t really what we’d call the world’s best sleep tracker, but it does offer some value.
This ‘Smartbulb’ adjusts its light according to the time of the day and combines different types of LEDs to encourage production of melatonin in the body and enhance your sleep. The idea is that you’ll fall off to sleep quicker and sleep better when using the SleepCompanion.
Like other monitors, it also tracks environmental factors such as noise, temperature or brightness, and it connects to a variety of compatible fitness trackers to help create low-level analysis of your sleep patterns.
We think it has more merit as a sleep enhancer rather than as a tracker, truth be told.
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Very relaxing lighting effects
- Useful morning alarm with energizing blue light
- Connects to fitness trackers like Fitbit, Jawbone and Netatmo
- Tested by NASA and clinically proven to help improve your sleep
- Tracks noise, temperature and brightness in your sleep environment
- Sleep analysis lacks detail and is limited when not used with a compatible tracker
- Reasonably expensive
The S+ is one of the most popular freestanding sleep systems, and it certainly has a lot going for it.
The minimalist appearance of the contactless S+ conceals the wireless sensors that provide personalized feedback on your sleeping habits and bedroom environment.
You can enable sleep mode via your Smartphone and set the ‘Smart Alarm’ feature to wake you up at the most advantageous time each morning.
Sleep analysis is detailed and accurate, and the app will also provide actionable tips on what exactly is influencing your sleep patterns and how you can improve on them.
- No pads, clips, headbands or wristbands
- Detailed and accurate sleep analysis
- Data and feedback provided to improve your sleep
- Monitors breathing and body movements without any physical contact
- Can distinguish between two people in a bed
- Smart alarm wakes you up at the best point in your sleep cycle
- Sleep tracking is not automatic – you must enable it on your smartphone
- Doesn’t work with CPAP machines
- Must be plugged in at all times
It’s no longer only scientists in laboratories who can reveal the factors that are stealing your sleep.
It’s time to take advantage of the advances in technology to improve your health, energy and stress levels and sleep like a baby.
All that’s left is to decide which device is best for you. Our advice?
Just sleep on it…
What’s your favorite sleep tracker?