The Best Sleep Trackers 
(Reviews And Buyer's Guide 2018)

Best Sleep Tracker Reviews

We all know the importance sleep has on our general health and well-being. Making sure we sleep well every night gave birth to the concept of sleep trackers, which help to analyze and report on how well we actually sleep, rather than think we sleep. How do you select the best sleep tracker to fit your needs? That's what we're about to examine in this article.

Ranking

Product

Our Rating

Price

Number 1

Withings Aura

2

Beddit 3

3

Sense Sleep Tracker

4

Misfit Shine 2

5

Up3 by Jawbone

How Do Sleep Trackers Work?

Up until the current decade, the only way to analyze the quality of your sleep or diagnose sleeping disorders was to undergo a sleep study. These sleep labs were able to analyze and help prescribe treatment for disorders like sleep apnea, leg cramps, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, narcolepsy and snoring.

While most home sleep trackers can't diagnose disorders like these, they can provide an analysis of the quality of your sleep and record any interruptions.

Instead of using polysomnography, as sleep labs do, sleep trackers use actigraphy to monitor sleep cycles. With actigraphy, an accelerometer records your sleeping movements, where stillness corresponds with sleep and body movement tends to correspond with wakefulness.

How Accurate Are Sleep Trackers?

Relying on a wrist-worn sleep tracker to provide the depth of information a sleep study offers is a tall order, but a sleep tracker can play a role in analyzing sleep patterns.

Furthermore, unlike sleep labs, sleep trackers are non-invasive and can be used at home, which provides a more accurate analysis of your normal sleeping habits.

Case in point, a study conducted by sleep researchers in the United States determined that sleep trackers provide an accurate analysis of total sleep time (TST), sleep percentage, and waking after sleep onset (WASO) (source). In fact, it only seemed limited in so far as measuring sleep onset latency (SOL).

The study, however, makes clear that actigraphy shouldn't be viewed as a replacement for other assessment tools, especially if serious sleep disorders are suspected.

Since this study was conducted in 2011, home-use sleep trackers have become even more accurate and now also offer ways to measure light sleep and REM sleep (rapid eye movement). Despite these advancements, sleep trackers won't replace full diagnostic sleep studies anytime soon.

What Are Some Benefits of Using a Sleep Tracker?

As the study above suggests, sleep trackers provide lots of useful data that can help you get a better understanding of your sleeping patterns and pinpoint the source of any sleep-related issue.

Most notably, sleep trackers can record the amount of time spent in each stage of sleep (non-REM and REM), both of which have tremendous health benefits for your body (source). Once you've collected this data, you can make adjustments to your nightly routine or seek additional help from a health care professional if patterns continue.

The video below is a short discussion about circadian rhythms and sleep stages to give you a better understanding of its effects.

Again, a sleep tracker is only an analysis tool to help pinpoint potential problems in your circadian rhythm and sleep stages, nothing more. But even with this limited information, it's enough for you to make positive changes that can impact your life significantly.

From helping you choose the right pillows, mattresses, sleep positions and wake up times, to changing your bedtime rituals and possibly identifying sleep disorders, a sleep tracker can make a big difference.

What Are the Main Types of Sleep Trackers?

There are two main types of sleep trackers: wearable and standalone.

Wearable sleep trackers are typically wrist units that collect data, which is then uploaded to a smartphone or computer for analysis. While more portable than standalone sleep trackers, wrist units usually don't provide the best or most statistical data, especially since they're often combined with fitness-related information.

In contrast, standalone sleep trackers are specifically designed to track sleep using broader and more accurate statistical data, then uploaded for analysis. And unlike wearable trackers which bother some people during sleep, standalone trackers aren't a problem in this regard.

Best Sleep Trackers

What Should You Look for In a Sleep Tracker?

The best sleep trackers are those that most resemble statistics collected in a sleep lab. At the least, they should offer the following data for analysis:

  • Time it takes to fall asleep
  • Duration of each sleep stage
  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Movement and muscle activity while sleeping
  • Snoring
  • Sleep environment statistics (not mandatory but recommended)

Personal preferences like wearable vs. standalone trackers, customization options, and app functionality are also important considerations.

Reviews of the Best Sleep Trackers

1

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Smart Sleep System from Withings Aura combines comfort and high tech to create one of the best possible sleep tracking systems outside of a sleep analysis lab. The unit is designed to improve the quality of your sleep by helping put you to sleep, monitor your sleeping patterns, and awaken you with light and sound.

Features:

A multicolored LED bedside lamp helps you fall asleep faster and wakes you up slowly once you've reached your optimum level of sleep.

The bedside lamp unit also records data from a sensor pad placed underneath your bed mattress while you sleep. The collected data is easily linked to your smartphone or computer via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to analyze your sleeping patterns, including:

  • Time it takes to fall asleep
  • Duration of each sleep stage
  • Body movement
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Snoring
  • Light, sound, and temperature changes (environmental sensor)

It also includes programmable features for naps and resting periods.

Positive Customer Feedback:

  • As a standalone device, the Withings Aura is less intrusive than a wearable tracker
  • Slow waking light and music option found preferable to an "irritating" alarm
  • More reliable and accurate software and graphic display options in its analysis program compared to other sleep trackers

Negative Customer Feedback:

  • Not able to program light and sound features to a customized setting
  • Set up is a bit more complicated than expected
  • Slightly slow transmission of sleep data

Our Verdict:

While the learning curve to get this system set up might be greater than other trackers, the benefits outweigh the challenges once it's set up.

The carefully designed lighting and sound systems for sleeping and waking are optimal but not customizable. So, if you're already using a wake-up light or other customizable light and sound system for your sleeping needs, you might find this device somewhat limiting. On the flipside, not having to bother with a wearable device is a major plus, not to mention its accuracy and durability.

Read Our Detailed Withings Aura Review >>

PROS

  • Not a wearable device
  • Light and sound helps you go to sleep and wake you at an optimal time
  • Stays in place as a standalone unit and isn't uncomfortable like wearable trackers sometimes are
  • Superior statistical analysis data points and software

CONS

  • More complicated to set up than other units
  • Lights and sound not customizable
  • More expensive than other sleep tracking devices
2
Beddit 3

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Beddit system is a trusted name in the field of sleep research due to the reputation of its creators: the Helsinki Sleep Clinic, VitalMed Research Center, and professor Markku Partinen.

Features:

Like the Withings Aura sleep tracker, the Beddit 3 is a standalone device but unlike Withings Aura, its flat sensor is placed on top of your mattress instead of underneath it.

As soon as you get into bed, the Beddit sleep tracking app turns on and starts interfacing with your smartphone or computer, providing you with the following sleep tracking statistics:

  • Overall sleep score
  • Time it takes to fall asleep
  • Time in each sleep cycle
  • Sleep efficiency
  • Sleep time
  • Heart rate
  • Breathing rate
  • Snoring

Positive Customer Feedback:

  • As a standalone device, the Beddit 3 is less intrusive than a wearable tracker
  • Impressive readout and analysis capabilities (as close to a sleep lab as you can get)

Negative Customer Feedback:

  • Software used to view gathered data leaves something to be desired
  • Inability to attach the sensor to the mattress causes it slip around with more active sleepers

Our Verdict:

The vast majority of Beddit 3 users seem satisfied with this device. They appreciate the hard science behind its creation, broad range of sleep tracking statistics, ease of use, and the advantage of it being a standalone device. By all accounts, the Beddit 3 is also easier to setup than the Withings Aura.

The biggest problem is the software, which only provides sleep scores for some of the measured statistics but not all (e.g, no heart rate score). Even so, the Beddit 3 is a solid sleep tracker.

Read Our Detailed Beddit Review >>

PROS

  • Device backed by hard science
  • Broad number of sleep tracking statistics available for analysis
  • Stays in place as a standalone unit and isn't uncomfortable like wearable trackers sometimes are
  • Easy setup and use

CONS

  • Software isn't quite up to snuff with hardware
  • Sensor pad may move around with more active sleepers
  • A bit more expensive than other sleep tracking devices
3

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Sense Sleep Tracker is an affordable, attractive, easy to use device, providing you with basic sleep tracking statistics without take up too much physical space.

Features:

This sleep tracker consists of a "sense" sensor for your nightstand and a couple sleeping "pills" which attach to your pillow where they record and send data to the sensor via wireless communication. It easily links to iOS and Android devices to upload the collected data for analysis on your smartphone using the Sense app.

The Sense Sleep Tracker tracks the following statistics for later analysis:

  • Body movement
  • Breathing rate
  • Snoring
  • Light, sound, and temperature changes (environmental sensor)

It also provides sleep sounds to help you fall asleep and a Smart Alarm to help wake you more rapidly.

But what sets the Sense Sleep Tracker apart from its competitors is its programmable voice command system, making it one of the most technologically advanced sleep trackers on the market today.

Positive Customer Feedback:

  • As a standalone device, the Sense Sleep tracker is less intrusive than a wearable tracker
  • Easy setup and use
  • User-friendly software app for data analysis
  • Quick transmission of sleep data
  • Impressive voice command features

Negative Customer Feedback:

  • Voice recognition software less than functional
  • Inconsistent environmental sensor (moving the unit a few inches in one direction or another often results in drastic measurement differences)
  • Doesn't measure heart rate during sleep, which some users consider crucial to a sleep tracker

Our Verdict:

Clearly, the standout feature of the Sense Sleep Tracker is its voice command feature, which can come in handy, especially if you're already accustomed to using similar technology like Apple Siri or Amazon Echo. If getting an accurate reading of your sleeping environment and having the capability to measure your heart rate are deal breakers, look elsewhere. Otherwise, this tracker may be a good pick.

PROS

  • Stays in place as a standalone unit and isn't uncomfortable like wearable trackers sometimes are
  • Easy setup and use, especially its voice command feature
  • Moderately priced compared to other sleep trackers

CONS

  • Voice recognition software isn't practical in its current state
  • Doesn't track heart rate, which is important to some users
  • Environmental sensor isn't entirely accurate
4

Quality

Price

Our Rating

The Misfit Shine 2 is a sleek, wearable sleep tracker. But in comparison to all but one other model on our list, sleep tracking is just one of its several functions. While it's more versatile, its sleep tracking capabilities are more limited.

Features:

The Misfit Shine 2 is both a sleep and fitness tracker. Not only does it record data like the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, it also records walking and running distances, the number of steps taken per day, and the number of calories burned per activity.

Furthermore, it allows you to listen to music, take photos, set alarms, and interact with certain smart home devices. And like all sleep trackers, it easily interfaces with your smartphone.

Interestingly, the device uses the Beddit sleep monitoring system and offers similar readout and analytics (albeit, not as complete):

  • Time it takes to fall asleep
  • Light vs. deep sleep
  • Time to wake

Positive Customer Feedback:

  • Very versatile
  • Fashionable, modern look

Negative Customer Feedback:

  • Users feel the need to adjust the wristband too often
  • Sleep tracker occasionally pops out of wristband

Our Verdict:

While the Misfit Shine 2 tracks sleep, it's only one of several features. If these other features are important to you, this device may fit your needs. But if you're looking for a more complete sleeping assessment, you'd fare better with one of the other devices reviewed in this article.

Read Our Detailed Misfit Shine 2 Review >>

PROS

  • Includes features other than sleep tracking
  • Uses renowned Beddit system for sleep tracking
  • Sleek design
  • Moderately priced compared to other sleep trackers

CONS

  • Fewer options specific to sleep tracking than other models
  • Accuracy of sleep tracker questionable
  • Pop out and wristband issues
5

Quality

Price

Our Rating

Like the Misfit Shine 2, the UP3 sleep tracker by Jawbone is a multi-faceted device, tracking not only sleep, but also food consumption, calories, steps, distances, and workout quality. Plus, it allows you to link with and challenge friends to fitness duels to keep each other motivated and accountable.

Features:

The UP3 uses lightweight, multi-sensor technology to track the following statistics for later analysis:

  • Quality and duration of sleep
  • Light sleep, deep sleep, and REM stages separated for analysis
  • Optimal wake up time
  • Heart rate

And as you'd expect, the UP3 links wirelessly to your smartphone for data analysis (but not computers).

It also includes personalized guidance via its Smart Coach feature and a Smart Alarm to awaken you at the optimal time.

Positive Customer Feedback:

  • Sleep tracker automatically goes into sleep tracking mode rather than having to be set manually
  • Sleek and as comfortable as a wearable sleep tracker can be
  • Nice variety of features

Negative Customer Feedback:

  • Not durable enough — the wristband stretches out with wear and its clasp breaks too easily
  • No web dashboard available, only compatible with smartphones
  • Accuracy of sleep tracker questionable

Our Verdict:

If you're interested in a light-duty activity tracker with several recording features besides sleep tracking, this device might serve you well. But if you're looking for something more substantial to track your sleep, the UP3 won't cut it. This isn't surprising given its multi-use capabilities, which tend to give limited quality in each area. Still, the UP3 is decent for the budget.

Read Our Detailed Up by Jawbone Review >>

PROS

  • Lightweight and wearable design doesn't cause much discomfort
  • Useful options for personalized guidance (Smart Coach, Smart Alarm)
  • More affordable than all other brands

CONS

  • Shoddy wristband design
  • Limited sleep tracking options, thus less useful than other models

What Is the Best Sleep Tracker for You?

While you can't go wrong with either the Beddit 3 or Sense Sleep Tracker in particular, they're no match for the Withings Aura Smart Sleep System​ for several reasons:

First, the Smart Sleep System gives a broad range of reliable and accurate sleep statistics and provides an easy to use software platform to analyze the gathered data.

Second, it includes an environmental monitoring system, which helps you to identify the perfect room temperature for your sleep and other perks.

And third, its Smart Wake system awakens you at the optimal time, taking out the guesswork on your part.

While the Withings Aura Smart Sleep System​ is higher priced than other sleep trackers and a bit slow at uploading the sleep data for analysis, it's still far and away the best sleep tracker of those reviewed.

Now Over to You!

What are your thoughts about sleep trackers? Leave your comments below!

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