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.
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:
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 2020
Here’s our roundup of some of the best devices worth grabbing right now:
Hello Sense with Voice Sleep System - 2nd Generation
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)
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
There are numerous different Fitbit trackers on the market, but we think that the Blaze is one of the most impressive for sleep tracking and all-round health monitoring.
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
Tracks sleep automatically
Comes with an effective silent alarm, but no smart technology to wake you at lightest point of sleep cycle
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
This wearable, waterproof fitness tracker is geared towards an active lifestyle, but it also offers pretty good sleep tracking insights.
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
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
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