Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

Take control of your sleep with our pick of the top slumber supervisors

How are you sleeping these days? Scientists have been mapping our sleep patterns for years and agree that good diet, low stress and plenty of exercise can help us sleep better. But in a constantly connected world filled with deadlines, dramas, snoring loved ones and screaming children, getting a good rest can be fairly impossible.

The insights offered by sleep monitors and fitness trackers are giving us new ways to think about how well we're resting, and offering personalised tips to help us get better sleep.

Read next: How does sleep tracking actually work?

So, can connected technology come to the rescue? We've tracked down the best in sleep technology to help make your nights longer, mornings easier and even tackle snoring partners. These are the trackers that made the cut.

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Best sleep tracker

SleepScore Max

Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

Since Apple bought Beddit, the future of the company's devices has been in question, so we've been on the lookout for a replacement. The SleepScore Max tracks from your bedside table using echolocation - a reflection technique similar to what bats do - firing out ultra-low power radio waves to track our breathing patterns.

Read this: Best Apple Watch sleep tracker apps

It's a little more pricey than other options, but it might be worth it for the excellent accuracy and actionable insights. Every morning you'll get a score based on the quality of your night's sleep and then told whether you're actually sleeping as well as you should be, and what you can do to get better rest.

As far as contactless sleep monitors go, the Max has delivered the best on accuracy. Our only criticisms are that it needs to be manually started each night and needs your phone to be running to work.

SleepScore has also launched a free app that also uses echolocation, so if you can't get your hands on the Max, there's an alternative on offer.

Wareable verdict: SleepScore Max review

$149.99, sleepscore.com

Highly commended

Fitbit Alta HR / Fitbit Versa

Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

If you're looking for a sleep tracker that you'll actually wear, then Fitbit is your best choice right now. Fitbit has gone big on sleep, and both the Fitbit Alta HR and Versa support Sleep Stages, so they can use heart rate to track whether you're in light, deep or REM sleep and give you actionable insights the next morning. Plus, you can benchmark your results against people of a similar demographic. What we like about these trackers is that they learn your behavior over time, and will start giving you more and more personalized feedback for getting better rest.

These actionable insights and good tracking accuracy earn this Fitbit duo second place on our list, but if you're on the lookout for a fitness tracker too, this is your winner. On the sleep front, the Versa is built for the future. It's got a tri-wavelength sensor that'll let the device measure Sp02, which lets you track oxygen in the blood. This will eventually allow the Versa to track sleep apnea when Fitbit switches on the long-promised feature.

The Alta HR's advantage is more immediate: it's smaller and more comfortable to wear in bed. The Versa, on the other hand, will get you more detailed metrics beyond sleep and a more watch-like experience with an app store of sorts and Fitbit Pay. These are things the Alta HR lacks, though the device is a lot simpler, slimmer and more affordable. If that's your jam, the Alta HR is where you want to be.

Wareable verdict: Fitbit Versa review | Fitbit Alta HR review

Fitbit Alta HR: $149.95 , fitbit.com | Amazon

Fitbit Versa: $199.95, fitbit.com | Amazon

The best of the rest

Polar A370

Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

In 2017, Polar revamped its sleep tracking software with something it calls Sleep Plus. This is just a fancy name for the refreshed platform that works on both the A370 tracker and M430 GPS running watch.

Next to Fitbit's analysis, Polar breaks the night down into a crude binary of sleep and interruptions, but we have found it to be more accurate than other competitors. Feedback is a bit more of a two-way street, as Polar will ask you how you feel each day and consider this when giving you feedback.

It's not the most insightful stuff, but it's simple, which will be enough for a lot of people. We hope to see Polar expand these insights over time to deliver more helpful tips for improvement. Compared to what rivals Garmin and Suunto offer up, Polar gets our vote for the sports wearable brand that's bringing something solid to the sleep tracking space.

Wareable verdict: Polar A370 review

$149.95 polar.com | Amazon

Withings Sleep

Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

The Withings Sleep (formerly the Nokia Sleep, and before that the Withings Aura) just slips under your mattress and collects your sleep data, and recently released back under the company's name after the buy-back.

It's able to collect data like sleep duration, interruptions, light, deep and REM sleep, plus snoring thanks to a built-in microphone. It can tap into the Withings app, giving you a coaching program to help reduce fatigue & improve health.

While the accuracy wasn't as good as Fitbit's wrist-based options in our testing of the Nokia version, which is essentially the same as Withings', we did find the Sleep Score to be genuinely useful.

It's the most obvious way to find out whether you had a good night of sleep, and will be in red should you had a bad night. The higher the score, the better night of sleep you had. Even better, the app helps you understand what makes a good night of sleep by telling you how to raise your Sleep Score.

We haven't reviewed the new Withings Sleep, but we have tested the Nokia Sleep, which is the same device with the Nokia name on the front of it. If you want to an idea of what the Withings Sleep is going to be like to use, definitely go have a read of our Nokia Sleep review.

$99.95,withings.com

S+ by ResMed

Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

The S+ is a pretty large device that sits on your night stand to track your sleep – and nothing sits under your mattress. Instead, it uses sonar, and those ultrasonic pulses can see straight through your blanket (and PJs) to monitor the movement of your chest as your breathe your way through the different stages of sleep. Or at least that's the idea.

Our testing has shown the accuracy isn't always as spot-on as we'd like when it comes to picking up movements, but where it excels is in its sleep coaching, asking you to tell the app how much caffeine you've had, how stressed you've been, and other factors that may affect your sleep.

This then feeds into the sleep tracking data, helping ResMed to coach you with better context. We also like the 'Relax to Sleep' function, which synchronises a sound with your breathing pattern to help you drift off.

The S+ can also use your respiratory rhythm to match the tempo of music it plays while lulling you to sleep. However instead of using the speaker on the S+, it actually plays out of your phone so you'll need the handset nearby. That shouldn't be a problem if it's already charging on your night stand.

Wareable verdict: S+ sleep tracker review

$59.99, splus.resmed.com | Amazon

Withings Steel HR Sport

Counting sheep: The best sleep trackers and monitors

The first watch back under the Withings brand is also one that's able to track your sleep, with the Steel HR Sport providing awake, light and deep sleep times, as well as giving you a look at how your heart rate varies through the night.

Unless you’re someone who hates wearing anything on their wrist to bed, Steel HR Sport’s slim physique makes it comfortable to wear to sleep. There’s an alarm, as well, so you can be woken by a gentle vibration on your wrist, instead of a blaring alarm.

In our testing, accuracy wasn't perfect, but not terribly off Fitbit's standard. The data is easy to digest, but sadly the insights aren't quite as meaty as we'd like. However, if you're looking for something that's good at the basics when it comes to sleep, the Steel HR Sport is by no means a bad call.

$189.95, withings.com | Amazon




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2 comments

  • Zetura·

    And still no smart alarm on any of the band ? Fitbit still haven't developed this functionality while customers ask for it since a few years, and open source code is available for it...

  • clatrell·

    People should be aware that the S+ app no longer works on either iOS or Android. It's not even possible to sign in to the app, so for all intents and purposes, the device is dead. Similarly, the Beddit Android app, which wasn't very good to begin with, is no longer on Google PS, and all help requests refer you to Apple. So that's kind of dead too.