The Best Sleep Tracker
Table of Contents
10 Best Sleep Trackers in 2023
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Sleep Trackers Buying Guide
There are so many sleep tracking devices on the market, it can be difficult to know what features to screen for.
We’ve summarized the key considerations you may want to take on board before purchasing one of the best sleep trackers on the market.
Sleep trackers are sleep tracking devices designed to help you make the most of your sleep. They can be worn in or on the wrist, in bed, or in another place that is conducive to monitoring sleep trends.
Benefits of Sleep Trackers
Sleep trackers are devices that measure physiological signals during sleep. They can be used to assess different medical issues such as sleep apnea, but also to assess the impact of environmental conditions (e.g., noise) on sleep quality.
By using these technologies, it is possible to gather more data about your sleep behavior than by simply asking you how well you slept last night.
Habitually, if we collect data and track our progress we are more likely to be cognizant of our behavior and take proactive steps to improve or change that behavior.
For example, if you are not getting the nightly recommended sleep of seven to eight hours, once you are aware of this fact, you are more likely to make the conscious effort to go to bed earlier.
Features of Best Sleep Trackers
The best wearable sleep devices are also fitness trackers. Most notably wearable devices are worn around the wrist, either as a bracelet or a watch or as a ring.
Subtle and usually designed in zirconia or a metal alloy to look more like a fashion accessory.
Many rings will connect to apple health, providing detailed sleep metrics, visual graphics of sleep trends and some may even provide suggestions to improve your sleep based on the sleep sequence detected.
A ring is a good option if you don’t like wearing watches or bracelets as you sleep.
Bracelets are lightweight, they can measure the rate of change in velocity and won’t restrict your movements during physical activity.
Most bracelets are constructed from materials that are waterproof, so you don’t have to keep removing them when showering every day.
Watches not only make a statement of being a tech adopter, they tell the time, along with monitoring key vitals which they display on the screen, which you don’t get with bracelets or rings. Some watches are also waterproof.
Other trackers on the market include sleep headbands that monitor brain activity and detect sleep patterns via algorithms and aid deep sleep and restorative sleep by playing special tones.
You can also find smart-eye masks, which have a detector that examines neural activity and sleep patterns. Both of these devices connect to apps.
If you’re interested in tracking your fitness or you're not accustomed to wearing rings, watches, or bracelets whilst you sleep then opt for a non-wearable sleep tracker.
Under the Mattress
Smart mattresses not only measure your sleep habits, but they provide enhanced customization allowing you to control the temperature.
In many beds the mattresses are adjustable, enabling you to tailor your sleep conditions to your personal preference.
The total amount of sleep time spent in any of the different sleep stages. Put simply, the total sleep time is the total of all REM and non-REM sleep in a sleep state.
Sleep disturbances are caused by waking up during the night, which can impact sleep quality and impair brain function.
The reason for these sleep disturbances can range from noise, pets, drinking liquids, and needing a bathroom break, or other medical conditions such as sleep apnea.
In some instances falling asleep again may take some time, which will affect how fresh and rested you feel the next day.
To reduce sleep disturbances, try keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding naps, don’t eat large meals before bedtime, get treatment for pain so that it doesn’t keep you awake at night.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep
Rapid eye movement is the sleep that is marked by rapid eye movements, dreaming, a faster pulse, breathing, and bodily movements.
Rapid eye movement sleep is important as it revitalizes your neuro functions, which are critical in memory retention and learning.
Deep sleep is the sleep that is most remedial and invigorating and the sleep you need to feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the morning.
In this stage of sleep your cerebrum slows down, your blood pressure drops and your body is at its most relaxed.
Sleep latency is the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep. A healthy sleep latency time is 15 to 20 minutes.
If you hit the pillow and you’re fast asleep, this can be indicative that you're getting insufficient sleep for your needs.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
A normal RHR falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
HRV measures specified changes or variability between consecutive heartbeats. The time between each heartbeat is measured in milliseconds.
Understanding your HRV can help you understand your preparedness.
Respiratory rate is the number of breaths you take per minute. On average a normal adult respiratory rate is around 13 to 20 breaths per minute while in a state of rest.
It’s good to have an overview of your oxygen levels.
The recovery index looks at the time it takes for your resting heart rate to stabilize.
Body Temperature and Movement
Many sophisticated sleep trackers measure the alteration of body temperature during sleep.
How much movement occurs during sleep. The general rule of thumb is the more still you are, the more likely you are to be in a restful sleep state.
The more movement you have is associated with being awake and being active.
Many cutting-edge sleep trackers identify and monitor the temperature in your bedroom, how much light there is, and how noisy or quiet it is. All these metrics can influence the overall quality of your sleep.
The lion’s share of sleep trackers is supported by a smart device app. Reviewing your sleep score report on your phone or an iPad or computer allows you to examine the data more comprehensively. Most sleep trackers come with wireless or Bluetooth functionality.
These days sleep tracker rings, bracelets and watches come in a multitude of colors, offering a variety of choices to match what fits your professional wardrobe and your casual style.
Non-wearable trackers are often made with thin fabric pads that either lie on your mattress or slip under your mattress.
Wearable sleep trackers can last several days with battery life. With a need for you to take the wearable sleep tracker off to recharge it every five to seven days.
Non-wearable sleep trackers must remain plugged into the wall the entire time in order for them to operate.
Budget and Warranty
Single-function sleep trackers are relatively inexpensive, as they only perform the singular function of monitoring your sleep.
The more sophisticated features a sleep tracker has, the higher the price tag. The price of these high-end sleep trackers can vary from $60 to $400.
Some sleep trackers require you to sign up for a monthly subscription service to have access to certain features, so make sure you read the fine print.
Most sleep trackers, both wearable and non-wearable are covered by warranties ranging from 1 to 3 years.
Sleep Trackers FAQ
What is a sleep tracker?
A sleep tracker is a device that monitors your sleep patterns. Depending on the sophistication of the sleep tracker it can monitor a wide range of sleep details, from the duration of your sleep, your sleep latency, your REM sleep, and non-REM sleep to name a few metrics.
The best sleep trackers can also dual function as fitness trackers. So you get to monitor your fitness activity and your sleep.
The best sleep trackers help you to identify underlying sleep issues such as sleep apnea, or other conditions.
They empower you to make modifications in your home sleeping habits to get better and curative sleep.
How do sleep trackers work?
Sleep trackers are wearable trackers or non-wearable trackers. Wearable sleep trackers are designed as a ring, a bracelet, or a watch. It’s a small device worn on your body, that records the activity of your body via sensors, measuring your periods of activity and inactivity and quantifying the quality of sleep from this.
Many cutting-edge sleep trackers monitor advanced data sources in addition to motion, such as HRV, RHR, respiratory rate, and recovery index to name a few sources.
What are the stages of sleep?
There are 5 stages of sleep. The first 3 stages are non-REM sleep. Stage 1 is the change of state from being awake to falling asleep.
In this stage, you are in light sleep. Stage 2 is the period of light sleep prior to entering deeper sleep. Most people spend time repeatedly in stage 2 vs. the other stages of sleep.
Stage 3 is the period of deep sleep, which allows you to awaken refreshed and active to seize the day. It is hardest to awaken you during stage 3.
Stage 4 and 5 are REM sleep. This can occur about an hour or more after falling asleep. Synonymous with rapid eye movement.
The greatest portion of dreaming occurs in the REM stage. As you grow older, the time slept in the REM stage declines slightly.
What is a daily sleep score or sleep readiness score?
The daily sleep score is an aggregate of your overall sleep statistics collected from various data parameters monitored and sleep patterns.
Scores typically range from 0 to 100 and indicate how well you slept the night before.
Your sleep data is then compared against sleep averages of your age and gender from published studies. This information is then fed into an algorithm, which generates your sleep score.
Readiness score on the other hand provides an overall measurement of your recuperation and indicates your level of performance capability cognitively and physically based on how well you slept the previous night.
How accurate are sleep trackers?
Some sleep trackers monitor the sole figures around movement during sleep, whilst other sleep trackers measure advanced sleep metrics.
Accuracy can vary from one device to another.
Sleep trackers that measure a range of statistics in addition to movement alone, such as body temperature, HRV, resting heart rate, as well as the duration of sleep amongst other measurements are more likely to provide a more balanced picture of your sleeping habits.
Who should have a sleep tracker?
People interested in gaining greater insight into their sleep quality, and sleep habits, and health aficionados out there would benefit from a sleep tracker.
Sleep Trackers Sources
- What are REM and Non-REM Sleep? – WebMD
- Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep – National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Do Sleep Trackers Really Work? – Johns Hopkins Medicine
- Comparisons of Wearable Trackers’ Ability to Estimate Sleep – PubMed
- 3 Reasons to Track Sleep on Your Smart Watch or Fitness Tracker – Cleveland Clinic
- How to Use Fitness Trackers for Sleep Assessment – VeryWell Health
- The Power of Restorative Sleep – American Psychological Association
- Commercially Available Wearable Provides Valid Estimate of Sleep Stages – Neurology
- Effects of Wearables on Sleep in Healthy Individuals: A Randomized Crossover Trial and Validation Study – Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
- Heart Rate Variability Predicts Sleep Efficiency – Science Direct
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