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 ‚Äď 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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27 comments

  • tbeachly·

    fitbit has a windows phone app now too.

  • Joes·

    UPBand doesn't last and has horrible customer service!

    • Amn608·

      Yes! We bought two Jawbone Ups and they were both dead within a year. 

    • danno·

      Agreed!

    • racheller·

      Yes, I've tried to get ahold of customer service 6 times now! My bad isn't even close to accurate! All I get is their automated reply, and then nothing. It's been almost two months now. I just quit.

  • Nickel·

    The Jawbone Up I have has a setting to vibrate when you are in light sleep up to 30 minutes before your wakeup time. It worked for a while, now it doesn't (I think this is the original UP that got recalled.) So now I need a new band. Which ones offer that same functionality (not just a vibration alarm, but one that goes off when you are in light sleep)?

  • whillas·

    This is a listing not a review. I can google "sleep monitors" myself :-/

    • Kobos21·

      It doesn't say it is supposed to be a review. I'm going to have to request that you stop wasting our time.

  • jjgrage·

    Yes! I've got my Neuroon couple of weeks ago and it's much more accurate then my Jawbone. This is the only "real" EEG sleep tracker at the market since Zeo went bankrupt...

  • jgalea·

    The Amazon link in the Res-Med takes you to Withings Aura. Right now it looks like it is not available in North America. 

  • Dragondrop·

    Nice article, I bought an Up3 a few days ago and so far, so good - ish. I don't doubt it's accuracy and detail, I'm just not sure what to do with it! Hoping the apps built in 'coach' feature with make some suggestions as time goes on! 

  • NA0·

    "Features were slim - there's no REM tracking...There are also timed sleep sounds and a smart alarm."

    Huh?  A smart alarm tracks your REM cycle and wakes you up based on it.  How can there be a smart alarm and no REM tracking?

    • Kennethcomer·

      Biorythms? They might be bogus, but at least they're easy to calculate.

  • AmandaWill·

    I agree with Kent. The Remfit band is the best sleep tracker I have ever used. 

  • Daga·

    I think you forgot about Neuroon sleep mask in this article. Major mistake because if I remember correctly this is the only PROPER sleep tracker that tracks sleep using EEG sensors - only real monitoring. I've been using it since May and I am very pleased with the quality and analysis - 4.5/5

  • GOEBOC·

    The best is your mobile, you shake it before going to sleep and shake it again when you wake up, and then it tracks.

    By tracking, you are not going to sleep better obviously

  • jakedefinitely·

    Overall best of sleep trackers is not in this list at all. Emfit QS has been in use by athletes for some time now, and has sleep quality, stress level, and progression of recovery tracking, all is done automatically when you sleep and only needs to be connected to your home wifi. Though due to higher cost it is not considered as a "gadget", more like professional equipment. It is also very durable so they give you good warranty (2yrs).

    Beddit and others tend to wear very quickly or even break and does not maintain their properties throughout the years. QS has a sensor placed below your mattress (like Beddit), so no attachments to your body is needed. The sensor itself is SUPER sensitive, that is why it can be placed under the most thick mattressess.

  • jonoj·

    Just weighing in on the Beddit here. I bought that and tried using it for ages, putting up with their inability to create a functional application. Unfortunately, that one is a complete loser and I would recommend anyone not to buy it.

  • racheller·

    the Jawbone up3 is a terrible tracker and is NOT accurate! Do not buy it! I mean, it even gives measurements for when you're not wearing it. It has my heartrate beating at about 20 bpm lower than what I really am, and does not record even half the times I get out of bed!

  • mapoisson·

    Beddit is not a bad product  (quite accurate), but two things are quite irritating : the impossibility of using a bluetooth speaker during its use, and most importantly the way they manage this product by discontinuating each version of it after around 2 years. I bought version 1 4-5 years ago, and it broke (cable just melt, and Beddit overheated). I bought version 2 a couple years ago (at a 50% rebate Beddit provided me), and less than a week ago, they discontinued version 2. The software simply doesn't work with it anymore.  Even though they provided me a refund for it (weird strategy), my level of confidence that they will not do the same with the version 3 is pretty low. To the point that I will probably not buy the version 3.

  • colduser·

    Be careful. I ordered one, they charged me and said it had been sent with the expected delivery day past by several days.  No response to queries.

  • ichthyosaurus·

    Fitbit is pretty fantastic all around, but surprisingly does that have smart alarm. And they don't seem to pay attention to their customers asking for one, for the past 3-4 years...

  • welshman45·

    I have just purchased a Fitness Tracker Watch, HuiHeng I5 Plus Sports Bracelet Wireless Pedometer Wristband IP65 Waterproof Sport Wristband Smart Bracelet Watch (Amazon description) with Zerona Health (free app) from Amazon for only £11.98 - Ideal if one wants to take a look at this type of device before shelling out loads of money. I am very interested in the sleep results I am getting!

  • kothea·

    nice article

    Beddit seems to no longer be generally available.

    I guess Apple have canned it after putting the features in the watch

    either that or they are about to release a new version

  • 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.