Nokia Sleep review

A sleep tracker that will have some smart home appeal

The Nokia Sleep is a sleep tracker that lives underneath you mattress monitoring your bed time. The idea is that it will not only give you a better insight into your sleep, but even improve your sleep quality long term.

If you own a Withings Aura, then the Sleep will look very familiar. That's because it's designed to replace the Aura that was part of the hardware Nokia acquired when it bought Withings back in 2016. It's removed the big light pod/speaker from the setup because apparently that wasn't all that popular with Withings users, which just leaves the mattress pad sensor.

The iOS and Android-friendly enabled pad will serve up a host of data relating to sleep cycle analysis keeping track of sleep duration, interruptions, light, deep and REM phases. It even tracks snoring. There's sleep programs to tap into as well through Nokia's Health Mate app. And IFTTT integration means it plays nice with smart home kit like lighting and thermostats to feel more part of your connected home.

Essential reading: Fitbit is trying to tackle sleep apnea in a big way

Removing the bed side device from the equation also sees the price drop below $100 letting you pick up the Sleep for just $99.95. Then again, this could be the last product to launch from Nokia's Digital Health business before it's snapped up by Withings' co-founder. We've been entering the land of nod over the last few weeks to find out if this sleep tracker can match what the likes of the SleepScore Max and even Fitbit's fitness trackers have to offer.

Nokia Sleep: Design and setup

Nokia Sleep review

We've already mentioned that Nokia decided to streamline the design of its sleep tracking setup based on the Withings Aura. Personally I was a fan of falling asleep to crashing waves and fading colored light, but that is no more. What you're left with is what Nokia calls a 'sleep sensing and home automation pad' and we are going to focus mainly on the sleep sensing side of things for this review.

Looks-wise, this is the Aura sleep sensor albeit there's now a nicer, soft fabric finish that looks like it's going to get a lot less grubby than its predecessor. It measures in at 637mm long, 190mm wide and 5mm thick - you are simply not going to feel it underneath you when you're in bed. Nokia states it's tested the sensor on bed mattresses ranging in thickness from 10 to 40cm so it should cover most mattresses. But it is still one pad per person, so if you share your bed with someone else and they want to track their own sleep, you'll need to invest in a second pad.

Inside the Sleep's pad lies the tracking sensors and a microphone to detect snoring. There's just one USB power cable that needs to be plugged into the mains and if you do happen to still have the Aura light/speaker, you can still plug the Nokia Sleep into the back (plug it into the one on the far right of the Aura speaker).

Once you've slipped the sensor underneath the mattress or between your mattress and mattress topper (at about the position of where your chest lies) and plugged it in, your next step is downloading the Nokia Health Mate app. What proceeds is a pretty standard Bluetooth pairing process. You'll then need to enter data such as gender, weight and height before the calibration process starts. You'll know it's started because you'll hear a buzzing sound from the pad. It takes around 10-15 minutes to calibrate and you need to stay away from the bed while it goes through this process.

All that's left to do is to get some sleep time in and let the tracking magic begin.

Nokia Sleep: Sleep tracking features

Nokia Sleep review

Before getting into the accuracy side of things, it's worth going over exactly what the Sleep tracks. Like a lot of sleep monitors, it'll track sleep cycles breaking that down into light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep, phases of waking and falling asleep. If you want a better explanation of what this all means, check out our sleep metrics explainer feature.

Next up is what Nokia calls the Sleep Score. This basically takes into consideration different aspects of your sleep data including duration, interruptions, regularity (consistency between bed and rise times) and the time it took you to fall asleep and get up. The score is then displayed inside of the Health Mate app alongside a breakdown of sleep. Ultimately a high score is what you are striving to achieve here.

The microphone built into the pad is able to detect (not record) snoring and is crossed with respiratory patterns to help distinguish snoring from your partner's snoring. If you want to turn off the mic, you can do so from the Nokia Health Mate app.

Last up is resting heart rate data. We've spoken a lot about this heart rate-based metric and its ability to offer an insight into cardiovascular fitness. So it's definitely a bonus to be able to track it during the night when you're in bed.

Nokia Sleep: Accuracy

To measure the Sleep's reliability, we put the pad up against Fitbit's sleep tracking skills, which we regard as the best and the most insightful in the business. It wasn't going to let us assess the reliability of all the data Nokia Sleep pad delivers, but aspects like duration and sleep breakdown were elements we can compare.

The screenshots below really give a good sample of what the Sleep and data from a Fitbit Versa provided over a couple of weeks. Sleep duration really was hit and miss with the Sleep going from being within 20 minutes of the Versa to as much as a couple of hours off at times. The breakdown of sleep, meanwhile, did generally match across the two devices. For instance, on the 25 April, the REM read as 19% (or 1 hour 5) on the Nokia Sleep in comparison to the 16% of REM that the Fitbit recorded. It was a similar story for light, deep and awake time.

Nokia Sleep review

Sleep data compared: Nokia Sleep (above) and Fitbit (below)

Nokia Sleep review

For aspects like total time awake there was around 15-20 minutes between the two. We couldn't really vouch for the accuracy of the snore detection but the resting heart rate data was in line with what the Versa and the Forerunner 935 I was also wearing during the time, also dished out.

Nokia Sleep
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Nokia Sleep: Feedback and guidance

Nokia Sleep review

The Sleep presents insights into depth, regularity and interruptions but it's the Sleep Score that I found most useful. It's the most obvious indicator as to whether you've had a good night's sleep. If you see a low number and red (which I did a lot) then it's not good news. There was plenty of 'average' or 'restless' nights.

What I really liked was the explanation of the data that the Sleep records, which can often be overlooked. Not only did it help me make sense of the different aspects of my sleep, but it also helped me appreciate what a good night's sleep should look like.

So I've got the data and there's a lot of data, but thankfully Nokia also makes it really easy to digest. I know I don't sleep great, so what I'm looking for next is how tracking my sleep with Nokia's setup can hopefully help me improve on getting a better night's sleep. Despite having a better understanding of the elements of my sleep, that help seems to be lacking.

Inside of the Nokia Health Mate app away from the Timeline and Dashboard where sleep data is presented, there doesn't appear to be any features to help me make those improvements. Over in the Programs section, there is a Sleep Smarter option where I need to track my sleep for eight weeks to address what Nokia calls 'social jet lag'. That is apparently when you shift sleeping longer on the weekends to accommodate the lack of sleep you get during the week and vice versa. Aside from that program though, there's nothing in the way of taking your data and offering ways to improve it.

Maybe that wasn't Nokia's priority with the Sleep, but it feels like it's something of a missed opportunity when it's collecting such a rich amount of sleep data.


Nokia Sleep
By Nokia
The Nokia Sleep does a great job of collecting, presenting and helping you understand the rich sleep metrics it records. It does lack that crucial 'what happens next' part after you've pored over the data and want to know how you can improve your sleep quality. There's just one program right now that goes some way to doing that and with the uncertainty of Nokia's Digital Health business now that it's being sold, it seems unlikely that there will be more beyond that to offer a more actionable approach to your data. The smart home automation might give the Sleep some much added appeal, but as a sleep tracker, it's good but we were hoping for more.

Hit
  • Easy to use and set up
  • Rich data is easy to digest from the app
  • Snore detection is a nice touch
Miss
  • Only one sleep program currently
  • Not enough guidance/feedback
  • Uncertainty about long term support


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