As our days get more stressful with work, technology addiction, and fatigue, our night-time routines can become more disrupted. This is why tracking our sleep is becoming increasingly popular. These handy little devices ensure you are getting a sufficient amount of sleep and make you aware of other sleep issues including snoring and sleep apnea.
This is why I have chosen my top choices for sleep trackers as well as all the important information you need to know before considering purchasing your own.
When it comes to wearable sleep trackers, my favorite is the incredibly well-reviewed and widely purchased Fitbit. However, for a non-wearable option, I have to praise the Beautyrest monitor.
Best Wearable: Fitbit – Price can be found on Amazon here.
Best Non-Wearable: BeautyRest – Price can be found on Amazon here.
Why I Choose The Fitbit As My Top Wearable Option
As previously mentioned, the Fitbit is probably the most well-known sleep and fitness tracker on the market. The Versa Lite edition of the device includes core fitness and smart features, such as sleep tracking. However, the Fitbit Versa includes all the same features as the Lite and more, such as music and on-screen workouts. On top of this, there are even more handy pros, including:
- All-day activity tracking. The device monitors your heart rate and sleep stages (from wake, to light, to deep, and finally REM sleep).
- The Fitbit is said to have a great degree of accuracy for sleep tracking, meaning you can trust its results/data.
- You can get calls, texts, calendar and smartphone app notifications right to your wrist – making sure you see all the important things happening on your device, without the needless scrolling.
- A slim, lightweight anodized aluminum watch body design to ensure your wrist doesn’t feel heavy or bulky while wearing it.
If a wearable Fitbit isn’t your style, a non-wearable device is probably best for you – which is why I took the liberty of sharing my top choice for this option also!
Why I Choose The Beautyrest Monitor As My Top Non-Wearable Option
Although most wearable options come with extra features regarding fitness, sometimes you need a device to be straight to the point and easy to use. This, combined with the fact that not everyone appreciates the fitness tracker look, makes this monitor the perfect accessory for those looking for simplicity and durability. It’s top features include:
- Being powered by AI. This makes the Beautyrest sleep tracker the premier and only sleep monitoring device that is compatible with your smart home Alexa.
- Highly accurate sensors which analyze and monitor respiration, heart rates and unique sleep behaviors such as body movement and wakefulness.
- Includes individualized sleep coaching, making it the only device which can monitor two sleepers independently and separate their data.
- The incredibly intuitive app captures precise readings and detects the optional wake-time for you.
It’s also worth noting that this device is WiFi-enabled and only available for purchase and warranty in the United States.
Things You Should Know When Buying A Sleep Tracker
How Do They Actually Track Your Sleep?
The key measuring tool carried out by wearable sleep monitors is usually actigraphy. Actigraphy is when movement is recorded through a measuring device called an accelerometer. Essentially, a certain amount of movement indicates to the device that you are awake, while long periods of stillness indicate you are asleep. This technique/tool has been used by professional sleep clinicians for 30 years to track and measure sleep, however, polysomnography is considered the best way to measure sleep (but more on that later!). Actigraphy is less expensive and less complicated than polysomnography, which is why it is used on smaller wearable trackers.
As mentioned previously, polysomnography is the best way to measure sleep according to experts and nosleepnights.com – but it’s much harder to do on your own. This technique is usually carried out in a sleep clinic over a night or two which specialist equipment. The information gathered from polysomnography include:
- Brain waves (EEG).
- Muscle activity.
- Heart rate and rhythm.
- The flow of air in and out of your lungs.
- Your sleep positions
- Your eye movements.
- Oxygen levels in your blood.
It’s safe to say that a sleep tracker isn’t able to do all of this, making it less accurate, but also less disruptive to your sleep – because realistically, who can sleep while hooked up to strange devices all night?
Accuracy Of The Device
In 2011, research by Martin and Hakim was published on the accuracy and usefulness of wrist actigraphy for sleep assessment. Importantly, they compared actigraphy to other key forms of sleep assessment, such as:
- Clinical interviews and sleep questionnaires.
- Laboratory Polysomnography (PSG).
- Videosomnography in children.
- Daily sleep diaries.
As mentioned before, Martin and Hakim confirmed our suspicions that tracking your sleep in a natural environment is better for your sleep than trying to rest in a sleep clinic laboratory. In their research, they also go on to say that wrist actigraphy can be quite accurate when it comes to estimating information such as total time asleep, sleep percentage, and how long after waking occurs.
However, they also claimed that sleep trackers shouldn’t be used as a substitute for clinical tests on those with sleep issues. They said: “Although actigraphy should not be viewed as a substitute for clinical interviews, sleep diaries, or overnight polysomnography when indicated, it can provide useful information about sleep in the natural sleep environment and/or when extended monitoring is clinically indicated.”
Is a Sleep Tracker Right for You?
If you are someone that cares about your overall health and wellness, then the answer is YES. Being able to track your sleep provides a great tool in your arsenal for fighting against sleepness nights – and the associated negative consequences!