Best sleep trackers: learn about how you sleep

The best sleep trackers around will help you keep an eye on your zzz’s

Young woman asleep next to smart phone on bed
(Image credit: Photo by Oscar Wong/Getty Images)

All that extra alone time this past year meant that 2020 was very much a time of self-improvement. Our social feeds have been filled with people’s glow-ups and new side hustles, but when it comes to improving ourselves one thing is often forgotten—sleep. We’re so busy working on our waking selves that we can neglect how we recuperate at night! And when around one third of our day is spent asleep, it seems a little silly to overlook refining this aspect as well.

The best sleep trackers on the market are some of the best sleep aids for learning about your zzz's. These useful gadgets monitor your slumber, providing you with data such as your sleep cycle, times you woke up during the night and your heart rate. Many trackers then use this information to suggest changes you can make to experience a deeper and more restful sleep. So slap on the best sleep mask you've got and get tracking!

How to choose the best sleep tracker for you

With various types of sleep tracker on the market, there are a few things you should consider when picking the one for you.

Wearable or not 
Many trackers come in a wearable form, such as a watch or a ring, but if you don’t fancy sleeping with one on, there are non-wearable options that sit on or under your mattress, or on your bedside table.

Measurement method
How your sleep is measured depends on the device. Most wearable trackers use your heart rate and body movement to monitor your sleep stages throughout the night. Some also use body temperature and noise. Non-contact sleep trackers, such as those that go on your nightstand, usually rely on light, temperature and motion sensors to decide whether you’re asleep or not.

Dedicated sleep trackers vs multifunctional
You can buy gadgets that have the sole purpose of measuring sleep or multifunctional ones, such as smart watches and fitness trackers, that also monitor exercise, offer breathing exercises, play music, and receive text and social media notifications.

Information given
Some sleep trackers give more in-depth information than others, from heart rate and waking times to periods of restlessness  and advice for improving your sleep.

The best sleep trackers you can buy now

Young woman sleeping in bed with orange blanket

(Image credit: Getty)

The best sleep tracker for most people

Fitbit Versa 3

(Image credit: Fitbit)

Fitbit Versa 3

Reasons to buy
+Good information on sleep stages+Attractive design+Good battery life (up to 6 days)+Multifunctional
Reasons to avoid
-You have to wear it all night-You have to pay for Fitbit Premium to get extra information

Along with being a great fitness watch, the Fitbit Versa 3 also offers insightful sleep data. This includes a sleep score out of 100, a breakdown of your sleep cycles so you know when you were in light, deep or REM sleep, and your estimated oxygen variation so you can watch out for breathing issues. Those who purchase the Fitbit Premium subscription will also be able to see their restlessness information and sleeping heart rate.

The data is easy to access. You just wear your watch while you sleep (you can put it into sleep mode but if you forget, it will recognize when you’ve fallen asleep anyway) and then open the sleep section of the app to check out the information it has collected. While some sleep trackers can present this in a confusing or boring way, the visuals in the Fitbit app make it clear as day.

The best sleep tracker that's not wearable

Withings Sleep sleep tracker

(Image credit: Withings)

Withings Sleep

Reasons to buy
+Easy one-time set-up+No need to wear anything in bed+Wide range of data
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey for a single-function device-Only works for one person-Requires a plug socket near your bed

If you find wearing a watch while sleeping a nuisance, the Withings Sleep might be a good choice. There’s no need to don any devices—you simply slip the slim mat under your mattress and leave it there. It uses sound and pneumatic (breathing, heartbeat and movement) sensors to collect the data while you sleep. 

Being a dedicated sleep tracker, it monitors a wide range of factors—sleep duration, sleep cycles (deep, light and REM phases), heart rate, sleep quality (scored out of 100), snoring duration, sleep regularity and breathing disturbances—and presents them to you in the ‘Timeline’ section of its Health Mate app. It also suggests things you can do for a better bedtime and a better morning. 

The Withings Sleep doesn’t ever need charging, as it plugs directly into the mains. While this is useful, it can pose a problem if you don’t have an outlet near your bed.

The best sleep tracker that's basically jewelry

Silver Oura Ring

(Image credit: Oura Ring)

Oura Ring

Reasons to buy
+Excellent battery life (4-7 days)+Attractive+Small and discreet+More in-depth data and analysis
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey-Can also track fitness but not very accurate

This is a personal health tracker that’s great for those who want a wearable device but find it annoying to sleep wearing a bulky watch or wristband. A compact titanium ring the size of your average wedding band, it’s unobtrusive enough that you forget you’re wearing it.

The Oura Ring uses an accelerometer to detect body movement, two sensors that track your skin temperature, and infrared light and accompanying sensors to monitor your respiratory rate, heart rate and heart rate variability. All this data appears in the product’s app, where you’ll also find an in-depth analysis that includes a sleep score and a ‘readiness’ score that shows you how rested and ready you are for the day, as well as identifying problems with your sleep, ideas about why they might be happening and suggestions for improvement.

The best sleep tracker to log your breathing

Vivosmart 4

(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin Vivosmart 4

Reasons to buy
+Good battery life (Up to 7 days)+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Fewer insights than other trackers-Naps not added to data

While sleep tracking previously wasn’t a focus for Garmin, it has now added and started developing this feature in its more recent models, hoping to rival Fitbit. The slim and discreet Vivosmart 4 uses a heart-rate sensor to track sleep cycles and a SpO2 monitor, which tracks blood oxygen saturation levels, to offer useful insights into your sleep and sleep quality. 

The latter is particularly helpful as, if lower than average, it can highlight signs of respiratory issues such as sleep apnea. While the Vivosmart 4 doesn’t offer much in the way of advice, it does offer guided breathing exercises that can help if you’re struggling to get some shut-eye.

The best sleep tracker for snorers or hot sleepers

Beddit Sleep Tracker

(Image credit: Apple)

Beddit 3.5 Sleep Monitor

Reasons to buy
+Wide range of data+Can track bed temperature and humidity+Easy one-time set-up+No need to wear anything in bed
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey for single-function device-Sits on top of the mattress-Android not supported-Requires a plug or USB socket near your bed

Beddit’s technology must be pretty good since Apple snapped it up and bought it in 2017. The Beddit 3.5 is the latest model and certainly offers a wide range of sleep data. Among other things, its app can provide data about sleep cycles, sleep time, heart rate and whether you’ve been snoring. It also tells you the temperature and humidity levels in your bed so, if these are too high or low, you can make adjustments for a better sleeping environment.

Similar to the Withings Sleep under-mattress pad, there’s no need to wear anything to use this dedicated sleep tracker. The Beddit 3.5’s slim pad, however, sits beneath your sheets but on top of your mattress, making it slightly more noticeable.