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 nigh on 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.
Now read: 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.
Best sleep tracker
There's a new boss in town. Since Apple bought Beddit, it's been unclear what the future of the Beddit 3 is, 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.
Rated: SleepScore Max review
It's a little more pricey than other options like the Nokia Sleep, 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 (it's currently sold out), there's an alternative on offer.
SleepScore Max, $149, sleepscore.com
Fitbit Alta HR / Fitbit Versa
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, those the device is a lot simpler, slimmer and more affordable. If that's your jam, the Alta HR is where you want to be.
The best of the rest
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 Ar70 tracker and M430 GPS running watch.
Rated: Polar A370 review
Next to Fibit's analysis, Polar breaks the night down into a crude binary of sleep and interruptions, but we have found it to be more accuracy 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.
The Nokia Sleep is the old Withings Aura rebuilt, except without the big light pod/speaker that was apparently unpopular with Aura users. The new version just slips under your mattress and collects your sleep data.
Rated: Nokia Sleep review
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 Nokia Health Mate app and even works with IFTTT integrations so you can get it tied into your smart home.
While the accuracy wasn't as good as Fitbit's wrist-based options in testing, 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 Health Mate app helps you understand what makes a good night of sleep by telling you how to raise your Sleep Score.
One thing to keep an eye on: The company formerly known as Withings will be Withings again, as Nokia sold it to the original owners. It's likely there'll be another version of the former Withings Aura in the near future, as the company is expected to relaunch by the end of 2018.
S+ by ResMed
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.
Rated: S+ sleep tracker review
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.
Nokia Steel HR
Most of the very best sleep trackers come in either band form or a device that sits on your nightstand. But what if you wanted something that looked a little more traditional, like a hybrid watch? Enter the Nokia Steel HR, formerly and soon-to-be known as the Withings Steel HR.
Rated: Nokia Steel HR review
In our testing, accuracy hasn't been perfect, but not terribly off the mark. The data is easy to digest though 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 is by no means a bad call.
One of our favorite sleep trackers, the Beddit 3 has gotten a lot of use here at Wareable. It turns out its one of Apple's favorite sleep trackers too, as the company scooped up Beddit in May 2017.
The Beddit 3 is a slim tracker encased in material that slips right under your sheets. It uses ballistocardiography to measure cardiac activity alongside movement. It then takes that data and combines it with snoring data, ambient noise, temperature and more to give you a larger look at how you're sleeping every night.
Once you have all that data, it uses it to create trend maps for you to help you figure out how to get better sleep and what's missing. Ever since Apple bought Beddit, the company's future and future products have been up in the air. Will there be a Beddit 4? Could its sleep tech get rebranded? Will it fold into the Apple Watch? We really don't know.
What we do know is that the Beddit 3 has gone missing from online and retail storefronts periodically over the past year, but as of writing it's available on Apple's site.
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