Getting enough sleep is essential to your wellbeing and proper physical and mental health.
It also impacts the way you feel when you are awake and can affect how you think, function, learn, retain information, and interact with others.
If you are not sure how much sleep you are getting on a nightly basis, it can be a great start to invest in a sleep tracker.
A sleep tracker is worn on your body while you are asleep during the night and it will monitor your various sleep cycles to give you more insight regarding your average sleep habits.
We have compiled a list of the top five best sleep trackers, as well as rated them on a scale of one to five to help you start developing better sleep habits and feel better.
What Do Sleep Trackers Monitor?
Sleep Trackers vary depending on the type of model, but they do have some common features:
Sleep tracker devices track inactivity, so by tracking this inactivity, they can tell when you are actively sleeping, as well as when you start to wake in the morning.
Sleep trackers can tell whether your sleep is peaceful or uninterrupted and whether you are tossing and turning throughout the night.
We will cover more of this in the next section, but sleep trackers help to track the various sleep cycles you enter throughout the night.
Some sleep trackers allow you to enter factors such as how cool or warm you keep your sleeping environment or how much light shines into your room.
You will typically be prompted to enter factors such as how much exercise you do, how much caffeine you consume, times of meals, and your stress levels.
While everyone sleeps, they cycle through various sleep cycles:
1. Stage One
This cycle lasts only a few minutes and is very easy to wake up from, while you are in the beginning stages of sleep.
2. Stage Two
This cycle is still very light and easy to wake up from, but your brain waves will begin to slow.
3. Stage Three
During this cycle, you will begin to fall into a deeper sleep that is harder to wake up from.
4. Stage Four
This cycle will bring you into an even deeper sleep and your body will begin to grow, repair itself, and boost its immune system.
5. Stage Five
This cycle allows you to enter the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase, where your brain becomes more active and you start dreaming. Your brain will also store your long-term memories during this phase.
The REM cycle repeats ever 90 to 110 minutes while you are sleeping, and they will slowly increase in length, depending on how long you are sleeping.
We will give our recommendations for sleep trackers that will help you monitor these cycles.
How We Chose Our Ratings
We want to provide you with the best ratings possible, so we review various sources of information to rate the products below.
Of course, it is ultimately up to you which product you decide to go with, but our goal is to give you a well-researched guide to finding the best options for you and your lifestyle.
- Start dynamic, personalized workouts on your wrist with step by step coaching. Synchronizing range: up to 30 feet....
- Store and play 300 plus songs, and download playlists from Pandora. If the band sizes are small, it fits a wrist of...
- Use built in GPs to track pace, distance & routes and get pure, pulse continuous heart rate tracking & real time zones
If you are looking for a wearable sleep tracker, the Fitbit Ionic is the way to go. It offers accurate sleep and fitness tracking.
- Records REM, deep, and light sleep cycles, as well as provides guidance on improving your sleep
- Tracks workouts and sleep, while providing step-by-step coaching and screen guidance
- Receive smartphone notifications on your wrist, such as texts, calls, and calendar alerts
- Store and play over 300 songs
- Built-in GPS to track your overall pace, distance, and routes
- Continuous heart-rate tracking
- Over 4 hours of battery life
- Sleek and waterproof design
- Comparisons with people your age and sex
- Get the power of continuous heart rate in Fitbit's slimmest design yet-all day, during workouts and beyond. Alta HR...
- With heart rate, you can better measure calorie burn, and use zones (Fat Burn, Cardio, and Peak) to find the right...
- With sleep stages powered by PurePulse heart rate, automatically track your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep and...
This sleek and stylish wearable device has a 7-day battery life and will help you track sleep stages, breathing, relaxation, and more.
- Slimmest Fitbit design, which makes it easy to wear everyday and match with any outfit
- Heart rate monitor helps measure calorie burn, fat burn, and workout intensity
- Automatically tracks the time you spend in light, deep, and REM sleep and helps you take steps towards an overall better night of sleep
- Tracks steps, distance, and calories burned
- 7-day battery life
- Customizable clock face with OLED display
- Made with flexible yet durable material
- SLEEP BETTER AND STAY HEALTHIER – What you measure you can manage better, same goes with sleep and recovery. Better...
- PERFORM AT YOUR BEST - Emfit QS gives you a detailed description of your sleep quality and progression of recovery....
- PREFERRED CHOICE FOR ATHLETES - The only contact-free health and sleep monitor that can provide whole night HRV for...
If you prefer a non-wearable fitness tracker, the Emfit QS is a great option, as you simply place it under the side of your mattress to receive detailed sleep tracking technology.
This way, you can avoid wearing a device on your wrist, but you can still receive the same benefits of sleep tracking and monitoring without the device making actual contact with your body.
- Obtains readings using ballistocardiography, or a measurement of body motion during cardiac cycles, using a highly sensitive compression sensor
- Can be used during fitness workouts for recovery tips
- Accurate sleep, pulse and breathing monitoring
- Ferro-electret sensor technology
- Tracks REM, deep, and light sleep stages
- Tracks trends for 360 days to help monitor lifestyle and training changes
- No app download required – connects through Wi-Fi
The only downside to using a device such as this, which is not on your body and on a mattress is that its data can be impacted if you share a bed with a partner.
- Improve your sleep: Get personalized Insights and learn how to improve your sleep.
- Sleep soundly: Sleep Sounds help you drift off to sleep and stay slumbering through the night.
- Wake up energized: Smart Alarm wakes you up more naturally, so you start your day feeling great.
This nifty orb sits nicely on your bedside table, as well as containing a clip that pins to your pillow.
This tracker has a great price point and will help track REM, deep, and light sleep cycles.
How Accurate Are Sleep Trackers?
Many people may wonder how sleep trackers know the difference between someone who is sleeping and someone who is lying in bed watching television or playing on their phone.
The best sleep tracker will track your heartrate to accurately track when you are actively sleeping.
Obviously, when it comes to tracking your sleep cycles, sleep trackers are not going to be as accurate as obtaining a sleep study done by a professional in a lab. But they can help you gain insight into how you are sleeping each night by tracking your patterns.
For instance, many fitness trackers provide insights such as sleep stage graphs, which will show you how long you slept and for how long you were in each sleep cycle.
You can then take this data to analyze your sleeping environment and how it may be impacting your sleep cycles and habits.
For instance, if you feel more lethargic when you sleep from 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM, but you feel energized when you sleep from 11:00 PM to 7:00 AM, this could be worth adjusting your sleep times (if you have the flexibility in your schedule to do so, that is.)
In the same vein, if you notice you sleep better when your room is cooler or darker or when you stop drinking caffeine after noon, try implementing these changes into your daily routine.
Small adjustments like this can have a huge impact on your sleep and, in turn, how you feel when you are awake.
Having a sleep tracker can help you to pinpoint these areas of improvement and provide you with valuable data. But ultimately, it is up to you to analyze the data provided by the trackers to make educated decisions on what you will adjust.
Why Should You Pay Attention To Sleep?
Sleeping is one of the ways your body recovers at the end of each day, as well as how it repairs your heart and blood vessels.
If you continuously deprive yourself of sleep, you could be contributing to an increased risk of kidney disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and diabetes.
Sleep also helps your body maintain balanced hormones, which can control your hunger cues. When you are not getting enough sleep, your ghrelin hormone increases and your leptin hormone decreases, which can make you feel hungrier than normal.
Sleep is also important to growth and development, which is especially important in children and those who are active and exercise frequently.
Your immune system can also suffer without proper sleep, which can cause you to get sick more frequently and remain sick longer than normal. You might find that you have trouble fighting off minor illnesses or recovering from minor injuries.
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
The amount of sleep you need each night varies depending on various factors, but there are general guidelines that can be followed:
- Infants aged 4-12 months: 12-16 hours a day
- Children aged 1-2 years: 11-14 hours a day
- Children aged 3-5: 10-13 hours a day
- Children aged 6-12: 9-12 hours a day
- Teens aged 13-18 years: 8-10 hours a day
- Adults aged 18 years and older: 7-8 hours a day
Poor sleep habits and sleep loss will majorly impact your health, as well as impacting your mood and how you are feeling each day.
If you are struggling to get enough sleep each night, make sure you speak to your doctor about your options and what you can do to improve this.
Getting the right amount of sleep for your body is crucial in so many ways and you will find that improving your sleep habits will have a domino effect on numerous other factors in your life.
We recommend looking into purchasing a sleep tracker if you are curious about your sleep habits and want to act to take positive steps in the right direction.
The best sleep tracker for you will be one that comfortably fits into your lifestyle, provides that data you are looking for regarding your sleep cycles and longevity, and provides guidance on what to do next.
Check out the Fitbit line for a wearable sleep tracker device that will monitor your sleep habits for a long period of time, as well as providing insights and charts to show you how you are currently sleeping.
If you decide to bite the bullet and test out one of these sleep trackers or another brand, let us know what you think and how it helps you get better sleep and feel more rested each day.