If you ever suffer from restless sleep or insomnia, a sleep tracker can offer a surprising wealth of data that can help you pinpoint the problem and take steps to enjoy a more restful night.
There are dozens of different fitness trackers to choose from, so we've put the most popular options through their paces so you can find the right one for you.
Many fitness trackers offer sleep tracking as standard, measuring your heart rate at night to show how long you spent in each stage of sleep (deep, REM and light) plus any periods awake. Some can also monitor blood oxygen saturation (SpO2), which can reveal whether you might be suffering from breathing disturbances that are interrupting your sleep and leaving you feeling groggy in the morning.
If you dislike the idea of sleeping with a watch on, or want more information, then the growing range of non-wearable sleep trackers might appeal. They tend to sit either above or below your mattress, while some can even be placed on your bedside table.
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So, if you’re sick of tossing and turning or tired of waking up… well, tired... take a look at the best sleep trackers and see which device appeals to you. We’ve split the devices between dedicated sleep trackers, which you’ll find immediately below, and wearables, which track a whole host of things, further down the page.
Dedicated sleep trackers
More specialist than the Withings Move below, the Withings Sleep is a pad you can slip under your mattress to keep a track of your sleep quality without having to wear anything on your wrist.
It means you can just jump into bed and you don't have to worry about putting on an extra tracker, and if you do own a fitness tracker or smartwatch you can rest assured that it will be possible to charge it while you sleep.
The Withings Sleep will monitor lots of stats too, including your sleep phases, your heart rate, the amount of time you've been snoring and the duration of your sleep.
If you just want to crawl into bed and have all of your sleep quality recorded and ready for you to digest in an easy to use app, the Withings Sleep is the perfect device for you.
- Read our full Withings Sleep review
Beddit is an unobtrusive sleep monitor that sits on top of your mattress, beneath the sheets. You don’t have to wear anything, you don’t have to meddle with an app; all you need to do is focus on sleeping.
In the morning, the powerful app delivers you a detailed breakdown of your sleep time, heart rate and more. If the well-placed kicks from your partner don’t do it, Beddit also tells you if you’ve been snoring, which is a serious contributor to poor sleep.
The Beddit app also offers feedback on the temperature and humidity in bed, helping you to optimize the sleep environment. Much of the information is displayed in easy-to-read graphs, making it ideal for analyzing trends over time.
Apple purchased Beddit in 2017 and proceeded to launch the Beddit 3.5, which is the latest model at the time of writing. That said, as the name suggests it's not a huge upgrade on the Beddit 3, so if you already have that there's probably no need to replace it.
However unobtrusive they feel during the day, wearing a fitness band at night is often uncomfortable. Some dig into your skin or get twisted and clammy, which actually ends up impeding sleep.
ResMed takes a different approach with a non-contact sleep monitor. Despite sitting on the bedside table, it claims it can accurately monitor breathing, heart rate, movement and overall sleep quality.
This is all while keeping tabs on noise, light and temperature levels to deliver feedback on how you can improve your environment.
The powerful companion app guides you through breathing exercises to help you nod off and plays sounds that match the cadence of your breathing. The app even encourages you to clear your head by jotting down tomorrow’s to-do list.
The resulting sleep score, which is based upon age and gender, also offers feedback and suggestions on how you can improve.
This is where ResMed’s years in the field really pays off compared to general fitness trackers. For example, it’ll tell you to try sleeping on your left side if stomach problems or heartburn is a factor, which is something you won't get from other trackers in this list.
The Emfit QS is so subtle that it hides under your mattress. The no-contact solution is primarily designed for athletes and uses the rapidly emerging metric of heart rate variability (HRV) to determine sleep-based recovery.
HRV is based upon the time between your individual heartbeats while resting. Research suggests the higher the HRV, the better your body has recovered from strain and the more equipped athletes are to perform at a high level the next day without risking injury.
The way Emfit’s approach differs dramatically from all of the other sleep trackers we’ve listed is the ability to see the scale of your body’s recovery throughout the night. You get a score when you get into bed and another in the morning.
If your score is high the next day, your body is ready to attack the day. If it’s low, you probably shouldn’t push yourself too hard.
Beyond HRV, the QS (QS stands for Quantified Sleep) goes seriously deep into sleep stats. It also tracks sleep stages (Light, Deep, REM), movement and breathing rates over the course of 360 days.
If you’ve targeted better sleep as the key to unlocking your performance potential in 2020, this could be the sleep tracker for you.
Watches and activity monitors with sleep tracking
The Withings Move is the cheapest of the brand's watches, as well as being one of the most recent. But despite the low price this hybrid smartwatch can track quite a lot.
Of course, it's the sleep tracking that it's in this list for. On that front, it's not always perfectly accurate, but it does track your slumber automatically, so you don't have to remember to activate anything - just wear the Withings Move to bed.
It will give you a sleep score out of 100 in the morning, based not just on how long you slept, but also how long you were in deep versus light sleep and how many times you woke up in the night. However, it's worth noting that there's no heart rate monitor here, so it can't track sleep as comprehensively as some rivals.
What the Withings Move does have though is a claimed 18 months of battery life, so there's never any need to charge this thing overnight.
- Read our full Withings Move review
The Polar Sleep Plus system uses the watch’s accelerometer to deliver highly insightful feedback, and it gives you actual sleep time (not just the time spent in bed), tracks your interruptions and delivers data on continuous sleep periods.
You can even rate your sleep and measure it over time against workouts and changes to your training schedule.
All of the insights provided are laid out clearly within the Polar companion app, enabling you to track sleep quality over time, and it fuses well with the rest of your active day, which can become rather addictive (in a good way).
- Read our full Polar M430 review
The Fitbit Versa has a slightly rounded design, customizable straps, and plenty of apps and features, as well as a fantastic battery life that'll last more than 4 days.
Thanks to its sensors, particularly its gyroscope and optical heart rate sensor, the Versa is a really great option if sleep tracking is just as important to you as fitness tracking or getting notifications sent to your wrist.
After sleep, open up the Fitbit app and you won't just see the duration of your sleep, but the different sleep stages you went through throughout the night, from light and REM to deep. Fitbit also attempts to make sense of this data and give you personalized insights about your sleep, but sometimes they're a bit generic.
It's also worth mentioning that the slimmer (and cheaper) Fitbit Alta HR, the GPS-equipped Fitbit Charge 4 and the pricier Fitbit Versa 2 also have Fitbit's advanced sleep tech built-in. So if you're looking for a more fitness-focused, slimmer or cheaper option, we'd recommend you check out Fitbit's full range to see which is best for you.
- Read our full Fitbit Versa review
If you don't fancy the idea of putting a gadget in your bed or wearing one on your wrist that might be uncomfortable, it might be time for you to try a smart ring instead.
Smart rings were tipped to be a huge tech trend a few years ago, but loads never made it past the crowdfunding or initial prototype phase. Luckily, the Oura ring did. It's an activity, wellness and sleep tracker rolled into one tiny, slim package that's about the size of a standard wedding band.
Although it can track your activity, the Oura is focused on wellness and particularly sleep. It provides you with a simple sleep score each day, but you can delve deeper into your stats to find out all kinds of information about the quality of your rest, from your resting heart rate to how much you moved, all presented on a series of bar charts and graphs. It's crack for sleep and data nerds.
- Check out our full guide to the best running watches