In an era where we are constantly bombarded by social networks, never-ending news cycles and a global pandemic, our sleep routines have been thrown all out of whack. And if you’re looking to sleep better in 2021, you’re going to need one of the best sleep trackers.
Sleep tracking functionality is often found in many of the best smartwatches and best fitness trackers from Fitbit, Garmin and Apple, but you can also find sleep trackers that have been integrated into beds and mattresses. Furthermore, sleep trackers exist as standalone products.
It should be made clear that a sleep tracker cannot fix your sleep all on its own. It merely offers data on how you’re sleeping. More specifically, sleep trackers use a combination of heart rate sensors, pulse oximeters, microphones, accelerometers and gyroscopes to keep tabs on your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, movement, sleep cycles and more. But this can serve as helpful feedback and positive reinforcement for the changes you’re making. If you bought a new bed or adopted a new bedtime routine and the sleep tracker says that you’re sleeping longer and waking up less, that could be a sign that you’re taking the right steps.
Best of all, sleep trackers are affordable. Despite the advanced algorithms and cutting-edge sensors these devices use, you can find fitness bands with sleep tracking for less than $40. But if you’re willing to spend more, you will unlock the full potential of the best sleep trackers.
With this in mind, we’ve rounded up nine of the best sleep trackers you can buy right now across various price points and product categories.
1. Fitbit Charge 4
BEST SLEEP TRACKER OVERALL
When it comes to wearables that can monitor your activity, fitness and health, Fitbit is not only one of the best brands around, but also one of the oldest. So it should come as no surprise that the Fitbit Charge 4 is the best all-around sleep tracker you can buy. Costing less than $150, the Charge 4 will monitor your breathing, pulse, oxygen levels, skin temperature and nightly movement to give you a nightly sleep score so that you can easily track the quality of your sleep over time.
But if you want to go deeper, Fitbit’s companion app will offer up a wealth of metrics and collected data on your total sleep duration, how many times a night you wake up, how much time you spend in each sleep phase. It can even alert you to potential health issues such as stress and sleep apnea. Along with these powerful sleep tracking capabilities, the Fitbit Charge 4 is also sleek, so you shouldn’t be bothered by it while you sleep.
2. Garmin Vivosmart 4
Like the Fitbit Charge 4, the Garmin Vivosmart 4 is equipped with a heart rate sensor and blood oxygen sensor, so it’s able to deliver lots of data on how you sleep. This includes short-term and long-term tracking of your nightly sleep phases (including how much time you spend in REM sleep). The big difference here is that the companion app doesn’t quite hit the same levels when it comes to meaningful insights. But considering that the Garmin Vivosmart 4 offers nearly all of the same functionality in a smaller package, and can usually be found at a lower price, that may be a tradeoff most people can live with.
3. AmazFit Band 5
BEST BUDGET SLEEP TRACKER
If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of wearables, or you’re in search of a more affordable option, the AmazFit Band 5 is the best sleep tracker under $50 that will track basics, like how long it took you to fall asleep and how much total sleep you got. That said, it can also track your different sleep phases, and specifically, how much time you spent in the REM cycle.
Given the price, there are naturally some trade-offs here: There’s no SpO2 sensor, the insights are minimal and according to a review of the identical Xiaomi MiBand 5 from the publication Wareables, it’s not as accurate as the best sleep trackers. But for the money, it can still offer you a relative sense of how well you’re sleeping, if maybe not an absolute one.
4. Fitbit Sense 3
BEST PREMIUM SLEEP TRACKER
The Fitbit Sense 3 takes everything we love about the Fitbit Charge 4’s sleep monitoring (REM tracking, sleep apnea detection, skin temperature readings) and adds a more accurate heart rate sensor. This in turn can deliver more meaningful insights, such as potential stressors that may be affecting your sleep.
Of course, the Sense 3 costs a lot more than many of the other best sleep trackers, and if you’re only interested in the sleep monitoring features, this may be overkill. But if you also want a full-fledged smartwatch that delivers notifications from your phone, connects to GPS and tracks any activity from runs to swims, this is a top-shelf option.
5. Whoop Strap 3.0
BEST FOR ATHLETES
More than just an activity tracker or a wellness device, the Whoop Strap is designed for well-trained athletes who are looking to maximize their physical performance. As such, this band not only tells you how active you are, but offers insights to ensure that you’re not over-exerting yourself during workouts, getting enough rest and recovering properly. Like other sleep trackers, the Whoop Strap will measure your heart rate, respiratory rate and movement during the night to determine how much sleep you’re getting, how often your sleep is interrupted and how much time you spend in each sleep phase. But Whoop takes things one step further: Combining your sleep tracking data with your workout tracking data, Whoop will learn how much strain your workouts are putting on your body, how quickly you’re recovering from those workouts, and offer up a personalized recommendation for how many hours of sleep you should be getting to recover.
Given the $30/month fee and the specialized-nature of its sleep tracking, the Whoop strap won’t be for everyone (especially considering it lacks an SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen monitoring). But for competitors, this just might be the best sleep tracker around.
6. Apple Watch Series 6
Given the fact that the Apple Watch has some of the most advanced sensors packed into its frame, you’d assume it would also function as one of the best sleep trackers. And while the hardware itself may be exceptional when it comes to accuracy, thanks to a medical-grade heart rate sensor, SpO2 sensor and an array of accelerometers, gyroscopes, altimeters and microphones, sleep tracking as a feature is relatively new for the Apple Watch. As a result, the software experience is solid for people who don’t need more than basic reporting on their sleep habits, but it’s still a work in progress compared to Fitbit and Garmin’s sleep tracking experiences.
That said, there are third-party apps for the Apple Watch that you can use in lieu of Apple’s own software, and which can deliver deeper insights. And if you’re looking for a wearable that can deliver a more holistic experience when it comes to smartwatch features, the Apple Watch is a great all-around choice.
7. Withings Sleep
BEST SLEEP TRACKING PAD
If you don’t want to bother with having to wear a smartwatch or fitness tracker to bed, not to mention having to constantly charge it, we don’t blame you. And lucky for you, there are sleep trackers out there that you don’t have to wear. The Withings Sleep is a long, rectangular pad that you stick under your mattress and connect to your phone via WiFi. As you sleep, the pad can detect your movement, heart rate and breathing to track your sleep cycles, detect breathing disturbances when you sleep and assess the overall quality of your sleep. And if you integrate this pad into your smart home via IFTTT, it can even automatically adjust your connected home devices (like lights and thermostats) when you wake up and go to sleep.
8. Tempur-Pedic Ergo Smart
BEST SLEEP TRACKING BED
While understanding your sleeping habits and establishing a solid routine is essential to sleeping better, sometimes you just need a better bed. And if upgrading your bed is also part of your plan to improving your sleep, the Tempur-Pedic Ergo Smart is a great option with a built-in sleep tracker. In addition to having a power base that can incline, decline and elevate your feet to provide an optimal sleeping position, there are dual sleep sensors built into the bed itself.
In addition to a standard array of sleep tracking features, the Ergo Smart takes things to the next level. When connected to your home WiFi network this bed can integrate with Alexa and Google Assistant to offer up sleep insights via voice command. The Tempur-Pedic AI can analyze your sleep up against the sleep of others and recommend tips for improvement. And if the bed notices that you’re snoring, it will automatically adjust the incline of the bed to improve your breathing. While this bed is certainly an investment, the fact that it could have a massive impact on the quality of your day-to-day life easily makes it worth consideration.
9. Eight Sleep The Pod Pro Mattress
If you already know that your body temperature running hot or cold is at the root of your sleeping issues, there is an all-encompassing solution waiting for you. Eight Sleep’s The Pod Pro Mattress has a temperature-regulating system built into the bed to make sure your body temperature is at an optimal 98 degrees while you sleep. This is possible thanks to a water cooling system that runs through the mattress in order to achieve the desired effect. But along with regulating the temperature of your bed, this mattress can monitor all of your sleep metrics, determine your optimal body temperatures during each phase of sleep, and can even connect to your lights or thermostat to establish a sleep routine that will leave you feeling refreshed every day.