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- Sleep trackers can give you more insight into your nightly sleep patterns.
- Some wearables track sleep in addition to other fitness metrics.
- You can also find smart mattress pads that track sleep, if you’d rather not wear a watch or band.
There are many devices that use a variety of sensors to track sleep, including fitness bands, smartwatches, and under-mattress products. All will track your sleep effectively and provide you with in-depth data. Which one you choose will depend on the depth of data you want and whether you want more than just sleep tracking from your device.
Price also varies considerably, but even if your budget is less than $100 there are still good options available. Often, the sleep-tracking feature works on older, cheaper versions too, so there’s no need to buy one of the latest and most expensive Apple Watch Series 6 models.
I’ve been testing and writing about wearable and mobile technology for more than a decade and have direct experience with most of the devices on this list. I’ve tried out the sleep- and activity-tracking features for long periods of time, to help you make the best informed choice before you buy.
- Withings Sleep Tracking Mat
- Withings Steel HR
- Apple Watch Series 6
- Fitbit Versa 3
- Samsung Galaxy Fit2
SEE ALSO: The best mattress toppers you can buy
Withings Sleep Pad
The Withings Sleep Tracking Mat goes under your mattress, so you don’t have to wear a device to track your sleep.
This is an under-mattress sleep tracker, meaning there is nothing to wear and also nothing you have to activate. You just get into bed and go to sleep, and the Withings Sleep Tracking Mat does the rest. The pad is placed between the mattress and the bed frame, rather than under the sheets, so you can’t feel it’s there at all.
A generous length of cable is attached to the pad and it ends in a USB Type-A connector, which you plug into a power block. There’s an app for Android and iOS, and it guides you through the easy setup process. The simplicity of living with the Withings Sleep Tracking Mat is one of its biggest selling points.
Overnight the pad will record your sleep stages — awake, light, REM, and deep sleep — the duration, how long it takes to get to sleep, your heart rate, any interruptions, and snoring. It assigns a Sleep Score to give you an idea of your overall sleep quality. Data is presented in an easy-to-follow, comprehensive, and attractive way. It logs it all over time to build up a picture of your sleep habits.
The Health Mate app connects to other services, including Apple Health, MyFitnessPal, and Strava. You can also share your data with others as a PDF file. It provides trends and advice on how to improve sleep, too. It does not give you an overview of your night’s sleep automatically as a notification, so you’ll need to remember to open the app regularly. Unlike a wearable, it’s only suitable for sleep tracking. Otherwise, the Withings Sleep is an excellent sleep tracking system.
Withings Steel HR
The Withings Steel HR is best suited to someone interested in general daily activity and sleep tracking instead of more comprehensive fitness and workout tracking.
The Withings Steel HR is an excellent sleep and activity tracker, and a stylish hybrid smartwatch, too. The design is subtle and classy, with an analogue dial and hands. A small digital screen shows data and notifications from your phone. It’s light and comfortable to wear, and not too big either, so it’s suitable for most wrists. This is important if you’re going to wear it overnight.
Like the Sleep pad, the Steel HR provides a breakdown of your sleep stages, heart rate, and duration, plus data trends over time. It’s a daily activity tracker, too. It monitors movement and calorie burn, plus workout tracking. The app assigns a Sleep Score each morning, helping you understand how well you’re sleeping.
Additionally, if you decide to use the Steel HR for activity tracking and purchase the Withings Sleep for sleep tracking, all the data is collected in the same app. It also connects with Apple Health, Google Fit, Strava, and several other platforms.
Apple Watch Series 6
The Apple Watch provides helpful though not robust sleep tracking along with its many other features.
Apple added sleep tracking to the most recent version of Apple Watch’s operating system, WatchOS 7. Sleep tracking is available on any Apple Watch with WatchOS 7 software, including the Series 6 and the Apple Watch SE. Previously, you needed to download third-party apps to monitor sleep. The standard sleep-tracking feature is very easy to use but not especially detailed. It’s best suited to someone who doesn’t feel they have sleep problems and simply wants to add basic sleep data to Apple Health.
The Apple Watch’s sleep tracking doesn’t provide in-depth data like sleep stages, but does help you keep track of the duration and observe those trends over time. It can also be used in conjunction with other sleep apps on the Apple Watch, which will increase the amount of data available. Outside of this, it’s an effective alarm; the Watch’s excellent haptics wake you up with a vibration. It also allows you to set a sleep scheduler to help you stay on track.
Because the tracking is relatively basic, wearing the Apple Watch overnight doesn’t drain much additional battery, but you’ll still have to charge it each day. Wearing it overnight means you’ll have to find a new time of the day to do so.
Despite its basic sleep tracking, the Apple Watch is an excellent overall fitness tracker and smartwatch. It’s a great choice for someone wanting more than a wearable that only tracks sleep. Plus, should you want more data, there are additional apps available. Just remember, you must use an iPhone to use the Apple Watch.
Fitbit Versa 3
The Fitbit Versa 3 is a reliable fitness tracker that also monitors sleep.
The Fitbit Versa 3 is part smartwatch, part fitness tracker. With GPS, a heart-rate sensor, blood-oxygen sensor, and water resistance, it does much more than track sleep. It’s relatively affordable, and Fitbit’s software platform is well regarded.
Fitbit’s sleep tracking works in a similar way across all its devices but varies depending on the sensors inside. The Versa 3 has a heart-rate sensor enabling it to monitor sleep stages, in addition to periods where you’re asleep or awake. It also tracks movement related to disturbed sleep. You need the Fitbit app on your phone to view the data, and it’s available for iOS and Android.
However, one thing to be aware of is that to view some of Fitbit’s deeper sleep statistics you will need a Fitbit Premium subscription. For example, Premium shows average heart rate overnight, how your movement affected your sleep, and further breakdown of the data that makes up your Sleep Score. The subscription also unlocks other features and data sets for daily activity and workouts.
Samsung Galaxy Fit2
One of the more affordable fitness trackers, Samsung’s Galaxy Fit 2 shows you a fair amount of sleep data.
Samsung’s Galaxy Fit 2 fitness band is reasonably priced at $60. It tracks your sleep and daily activity and delivers notifications from your phone. It’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to spring for an Apple Watch or one of the Withings devices but still wants a comprehensive amount of data.
It shows the duration of your sleep and sleep stages, and it will provide a Sleep Efficiency score in the morning. This data is collated in Samsung’s Health app, which is available for Android and iOS. For daily activities, it counts steps and calories burned, plus has a long list of workouts it can track. There’s a heart-rate sensor on the back, but it does not have sensors for an electrocardiogram or Sp02 (blood oxygen) reading.
The band itself is comfortable and light enough to wear all day and night, and it comes in a variety of colors. The 1.1-inch screen is bright and colorful and reacts quickly and reliably to your touch.
The Galaxy Fit 2 may not have the functionality of the Withings Steel HR, but it’s considerably cheaper and still provides most of the data anyone interested in knowing more about their sleep will need.
What about smart mattresses?
Smart mattresses are a growing trend, and most contain sleep-tracking systems. They’re similar to the Withings Sleep Pad and Emfit QS, just without any additional hardware.
Often smart mattresses have other features, including heating and cooling, plus motorized adjustability, but are much more expensive than any of the products we’ve recommended. Expect to pay well in excess of $2,000 for a large, fully featured one, such as Eight Sleep’s Pod Pro or Sleep Number’s 360 C2 smart bed.
Do you need a sleep tracker?
Sleep tracking is most beneficial for those who have problems related to sleep, including snoring, insomnia, or sleep apnea. Those bothered by noise or other interruptions may also benefit.
Data collected by a sleep tracker may help your doctor make better recommendations. It’s also a helpful metric for athletes as part of a training and recovery plan.
However, it’s important to note that these trackers are not medical devices. Though some have Food and Drug Administration clearance for certain aspects, like assessing heart rhythm, they cannot diagnose sleep apnea or other sleep-related conditions. If you’re worried about your sleep patterns, you should talk to your doctor.
What else we considered
If the Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 is more money than you want to pay, consider looking at importing a fitness band, like the Honor Band 5 or Xiaomi Mi Band 5. These should cost about $40 but track sleep very effectively. Honor’s TruSleep system is particularly good, providing lots of data and comprehensive advice on how to improve your sleep. Neither are officially available in the US but are sold in the UK and are often available through Amazon.
What we’re looking forward to testing
Withings ScanWatch ($279.95): Withings’ other hybrid smartwatch, the ScanWatch, is waiting for FDA approval in the US but has already gained similar CE approval in Europe. In addition to the same heart-rate sensor as the Steel HR, the ScanWatch has an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a blood-oxygen sensor (Sp02).
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