Best Sleep Trackers of 2023 and How They Work
We all know that sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind. That said, we don’t necessarily know what’s happening when we’re unconscious at night, other than having weird dreams or that you may or may not be a snorer. Sleep trackers offer valuable insights into this mysterious phase of our daily lives, so you can better understand your sleep patterns and work on improving the quality of your sleep.
Sleep trackers come in all shapes and sizes, from handheld devices to devices you keep on your bedside table. Explore below the various benefits of sleep tracking, how it works, and some good sleep trackers we recommend.
How does sleep tracking work?
It depends on your sleep tracker, but they mainly use accelerometers to detect movement, heart rate or oxygen saturation levels. Technology has come a long way, and nonwearables are using non-contact and low-energy radar that tracks movement and other environmental factors, such as temperature and light, to detect possible sleep disturbances.
What do sleep trackers measure?
- sleep stages: Sleep trackers can measure the time you spend in deep sleep, light sleep and REM. Some even sound an alarm at the optimal wake-up time according to your sleep phases.
- sleep quality: Sleep trackers measure movement and can detect when you’re fast asleep or tossing and turning.
- amount of sleep: Your sleep tracker can pinpoint your sleep and wake times by tracking your activity (or lack thereof) and this way calculate your total sleep time.
- sleep disorders: Some sleep trackers, such as those found in mattresses and bedside devices, measure temperature, noise, and other external factors that could affect sleep quality.
The best sleep trackers
The Fitbit is a fitness tracker that measures physical activity and sleep activity. It measures heart rate, blood oxygen levels and time spent in different stages of sleep, providing a calculated sleep score that evaluates your overall sleep quality. Use your Fitbit throughout the day to track your steps, workouts, calories burned, and more.
While more expensive than other wearables on the market, the Oura ring is a lightweight, high-tech device you wear on one of your fingers that tracks your sleep. More convenient than a wrist device, it provides accurate readings of your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, sleep stages and total sleep score. It also offers insights into other aspects of health, such as physical activity and stress.
The Halo Rise is a sleep tracker that doubles as a smart home device. It’s equipped with motion sensors that detect movement and breathing patterns during your sleep to provide accurate insights into your sleep duration, sleep quality and sleep stages. Unlike wearables, it can also measure possible sleep disturbances in your environment such as humidity, light and temperature.
With the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed c2, your sleeping surface is your sleep tracker. Small sensors placed throughout the mattress track movement, heart rate, temperature and breathing. You can’t feel them, but these sensors are constantly collecting data to accurately read various sleep performance data points.
Aside from the sleep tracking feature, you can also adjust your firmness and temperature, making it an ideal mattress for all sleeping positions and for hot sleepers looking for cooling relief.
How we chose sleep trackers
The best sleep trackers were selected based on the following criteria.
The main criterion when looking at sleep trackers is the sleep data points they measure. Sleep trackers should provide valuable insights into various aspects of sleep, including sleep quality, sleep duration, and sleep patterns. We also considered their additional features, like their ability to measure blood oxygen levels, physical activity or other valuable health data.
Another crucial factor when choosing a sleep tracker is its accuracy. There is no device on the market that is as accurate as a polysomnography test as it is unable to measure brain activity and wave patterns, the true indicators of your sleep stages and whether you are asleep or awake. However, wearables with heart rate and blood oxygen level sensors prove to be the most reliable. For nonwearables, we looked for sleep trackers that measure breathing patterns or external factors like temperature and light.
From wallet-friendly to premium, there are sleep trackers for a range of different budgets. We present sleep trackers that offer good bang for your buck. There are pricier sleep-tracking fitness wearables and high-tech smart beds you can invest in, but we’ve chosen to focus on those that offer accurate sleep tracking at a fair price.
What should I look out for when tracking my sleep?
- Time spent in deep sleep and REM
- sleep duration
- oxygen content in the blood
- breathing pattern
- Temperature and light disturbances (if applicable)
What is the importance of sleep tracking?
While sleep tracking isn’t a surefire cure for poor sleep, it can provide insights into your sleep stages, possible disruptions keeping you awake, and lifestyle habits so you can be more informed about your own sleep patterns and what sleep habits you might be able to change improve sleep quality. You can also share your results with a doctor who can work with you to improve sleep hygiene and overall quality.
How do sleep trackers work?
Wearable sleep trackers use heart rate, blood oxygen, and motion sensors to measure key indicators of your sleep stages and patterns. Nonwearables rely on motion sensors and low-power radar to track movement, breathing, and environmental changes like temperature and light.
Sleep trackers collect this data to provide valuable insights into sleep duration, sleep quality, the time you spend in specific sleep stages, and possible explanations for sleep disorders.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions about a medical condition or health goals.