Not to scare you or anything, but a lack of sleep can lead to a ton of health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disea — okay, I’ll stop now.
But, don’t shoot the messenger. This is all according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And since it’s impossible to manually track your own sleep, it might be a good idea to get your hands on a sleep tracker to do the work for you. That way, it can help you improve both the quality and quantity of your sleep.
While most smartwatches and fitness trackers nowadays come with the ability to track your ZZZ’s, having a device strapped to your wrist isn’t always the most comfortable option. There have been plenty of times where I’ve gone to bed with my fitness tracker positioned comfortably on my wrist at night, only to find it on the floor or thrown across my bed in the morning.
So, in an effort to help you get the most out of your sleep — you know, because it also leads to an overall healthier lifestyle — we’ve put together a list of trackers that won’t annoy you throughout the night the way a smartwatch would.
Here are some that might work for you.
Withings Sleep ($99.95)
Even though the Withings Sleep tracking mat stays tucked under your mattress, the grey fabric is attractive enough that you won’t need to hide it. It’s also easy to use. After plugging it in and downloading the connected app, all that’s left to do is set your lil’ head down on your pillow and shut your eyes. You also don’t have to worry about turning it on every night, which is a huge plus. I don’t know about you, but I can barely remember to plug my phone in to charge every night, let alone worry about yet another device.
While you sleep, the mat collects a variety of metrics to provide you with your very own score. (Because, who doesn’t want to be evaluated the minute they wake up?) Your score consists of how much sleep you got; the amount of time you spent in deep, light, and REM sleep; the consistency between your sleep and wake times; the amount of time it took to fall asleep; how long it took you to get out of bed; and the amount of times you woke up throughout night.
But, let’s get serious for a second. As part of a recent update, the mat now also monitors breathing disturbances to help identify signs of sleep apnea — a sleep disorder where your breathing stops and starts repeatedly throughout the night. (Not concerning, at all.) The app on your phone can show whether there were low, medium, or high disturbances throughout the night. If you find your results to be a tad concerning, then you should probably get your butt to a doctor.
Beautyrest Sleeptracker ($200)
We ask a lot of Amazon Alexa, and with the Beautyrest Sleeptracker, you can ask even more. Those with an Alexa-enabled device can control the tracker with commands like: “Alexa, ask Sleeptracker how I slept last night” or “Alexa, ask Sleeptracker to start recording sleep.”
Each pack comes with a set of two trackers, so, for those of you who share a mattress with a loved one, you can put one on each side of the bed. Both trackers have to be placed between the mattress and the bed frame, while the (kinda ugly) processor sits on the ground behind the bed where hopefully no one will see it.
As you sleep, the tracker monitors your cycles including light, deep, and REM sleep. It also tracks respiration, heart rate, and body movement throughout the night. In the morning, all of your data is compiled into a daily report where you can see how much time you spent in each phase of sleep, your overall score, and tips on how to improve. Oh, and in case you’re worried your significant other might mess up your data, you’ll be happy to know the trackers monitor your sleep separately.
Beddit Sleep Monitor ($149.95)
At 2mm, the Beddit Sleep Monitor is so thin that even a real princess would fail to feel it underneath her mattress. Like most sleep trackers, it monitors your sleep duration, heart rate, and breathing. And, if you’re comfortable enough granting microphone access to the Beddit app on your iPhone, you can also track snoring. Which, for those of you in denial about whether or not you snore, might be highly necessary. Additionally, it tracks the temperature in your bedroom and the humidity.
You can also set daily bedtime and sleep goals so that your iPhone or Apple Watch will alert you when it’s time to put a stop to that late-night Netflix binge session and hit the sack.
Oura Ring ($299)
For those of you comfortable with wearing an accessory to bed, the Oura Ring is a discreet piece of jewelry that packs a lot of capabilities. For starters, it comes with a 3D accelerometer and gyroscope to detect body movement; infrared LEDs to measure your blood volume pulse; and an NTC body temperature sensor that reads your temperature while you sleep and compares it to previous nights. This is definitely not your typical ring.
Using all of that data, in addition to information about your sleep stages and sleep duration, the ring works to create a customized sleep schedule that’s supposed to help you feel energetic all day, every day. That way, you can stop hitting snooze and, instead, hop right out of bed ready for the day! Just kidding. We all know that’s not possible no matter how much sleep you get.
SleepScore Max ($149.99)
No, this isn’t another smart speaker. Although, I did initially get some Google-Home-Max-type vibes when I first saw it. Unlike other trackers you’d place under your mattress or wear on your body, the (quite large) SleepScore Max sensor sits, instead, on your nightstand. Other than plugging it in and turning it on, there’s really nothing else you have to do with it.
All the rest of its key functions are located within the companion app. In terms of features, you can use it to set smart alarms (that wake you up at optimal times to keep you from feeling drowsy) and sleep goals. It also holds all the information on your sleep quality and quantity.
The SleepScore’s rather aesthetically pleasing app also gives you a sleep chart to view your personal score (based on duration, sleep cycles, and interruptions) and your sleep history to compare results. And, if you truly want to be proactive about your sleep patterns, the app can generate a report for you to hand over to your doctor, too.
Putting it to bed
Of course, all of these devices represent just a few options out of a wide, extensive range of sleep-tracking tech that exists today. And, if smartwatches and fitness trackers are comfortable for you to wear throughout the night, then I’m very, very happy for you (though I can’t quite relate).
But for reasons I won’t get into, 2020 could prove to be a tough year to sleep through. Which is why it might be good to start your year off with one of these trackers.