If you ever worry about how much sleep you're getting, the best sleep trackers are ideal for monitoring just that. They can also keep you clued up on the quality of your sleep so you can understand what's happening to your body while you're having forty winks.
If you feel like you could benefit from monitoring your sleep, we've rounded up some of the best sleep trackers you can buy online. They range from monitors you wear on your wrist to trackers that sit in your bed so you can pick the one you would be most comfortable using.
How do sleep trackers track sleep?
Sleep trackers work by monitoring your body movements and periods of inactivity to determine how much sleep you are getting.
Heart rate tracking is also used to identify sleep patterns. Your heart rate will be at its lowest when you're sleeping so if your heart rate changes during this time, it can be linked to the quality of your sleep.
When you're in a deep sleep, your heart rate will be lower than when you're in a light sleep. You may also experience spikes in your heart rate when you're dreaming, during what is known as REM sleep, and when you're restless. The best sleep trackers will monitor this and provide an analysis of time spent in each sleep stage so you can recognise patterns and potentially make changes to improve your snooze time.
Some sleep trackers take note of your respiratory rate and your blood oxygen levels to get a more accurate picture of your slumber.
Best sleep trackers
Best for still sleepers
A sleep monitor, calorie tracker, and heart rate monitor all in one. You'll get a better
Best slimline sleep tracker
This Garmin tracker is sleek and stylish, with its slim line design and berry and rose gold
Most unnoticeable sleep tracker
If you love the idea of tracking your sleep but hate the thought of having to wear any devices for
Best for tracking blood oxygen levels
Wear this monitor around your wrist and around your thumb to track your blood oxygen levels as
Track restfulness, heart rate, and respiratory rate with the Beurer SE 80 SleepExpert. It
As well as keeping track of your heart and respiratory rate and movements, the Sleeppal+ tracker
Best sleep trackers FAQs
What are the different stages of sleep?
We all know that we need to aim to get between seven and eight hours of sleep every night. Of course, we should try to get the right amount of shut-eye, but the quality of the sleep we're getting is also important. The Sleep Foundation identifies four separate sleep stages, with each one playing a vital part in getting high-quality sleep.
Stage one - awake/dozing off
Think of this stage as being not quite asleep but not quite awake. It usually lasts a couple of minutes as your body and brain activity start to slow down to prepare you for sleep. You can easily be woken if you're disturbed, but if you're not interrupted, you'll move onto stage two in no time at all.
Stage two - light sleep
Your body will enter a more subdued state during this time. Your core temperature will drop, your muscles become relaxed and your breathing and heart rate slow down. When you first drift off, you'll spend around 10-25 minutes in this stage before moving on to the next. However, you will revisit this stage multiple times throughout the night. Typically, every person will spend around half their time asleep in stage two.
Stage three - deep sleep
It is harder to be woken up in this phase of sleep. Your muscle tone and breathing rate decrease even further as your body relaxes more. Experts believe this stage is critical to restorative sleep as it allows bodily recovery and growth. It may also bolster the immune system and other key bodily processes. Each cycle of this stage of sleep is between 10 to 60 minutes at a time.
Stage four - REM sleep
During REM sleep, brain activity picks up, nearing levels seen when you're awake. At the same time, the body experiences a temporary paralysis of the muscles, with two exceptions: the eyes and the muscles that control breathing. Even though your eyes are closed, they can be seen moving quickly. It is believed this stage of sleep is essential to cognitive functions, like memory, learning, and creativity. You'll also experience the most vivid dreams during this stage of sleep. You won't usually experience REM sleep until you've been asleep for around 90 minutes, but it will make up around 25 per cent of your time asleep.
You can use sleep trackers to keep tabs on how long you're in each stage. They will also help you identify whether there may be any medical issues that need investigating. Plus any external factors which are stopping you from reaching your full sleep potential.
Are sleep trackers accurate?
For day-to-day tracking, sleep trackers are fairly accurate. However, if you're worried you have sleep-related conditions, such as sleep apnoea, you should always consult your GP. Sleep trackers aren't actually directly measuring your sleep, they're measuring the factors that change while you're sleeping. For the most accurate sleep analysis, you'll need to have a medical sleep study, conducted by a professional. This will measure your brain activity during your sleep cycle in addition to what a sleep tracker can do.