You may not be aware, but quite a notable percentage of the human population suffers from some sort of sleeping disorder. Sleep disorders might range from relatively harmless ones, like stress-induced insomnia, to more dangerous ones, like sleep apnea. Therefore, sleep fitness is an integral part of our health and, like other areas including heart rate and respiratory rate, must be monitored as well. Thankfully, in this modern time and age, science has blessed us with sleep-monitoring technologies that many devices now harness. These sleep trackers, or night-time trackers provide an overall analysis of our sleep and can be helpful in regulating a healthier pattern and/or indicating an underlying disorder that might need treatment.
Some of the best sleep trackers of 2017 use the ballistocardiography technology that can monitor your nocturnal movements as well as note the pulse, heart and respiratory rate of your body while you doze off. Surprisingly, electronics giants like Apple and Android have yet to develop a native sleep-monitoring technology on their devices. However, Apple has recently acquired the Beddit firm and may be employing its own sleep-monitoring technology soon, particularly in its Apple Watch.
For the time being, we have third party application or other less known devices that act as sleep trackers. This article will list and discuss the best sleep trackers of 2017 that you can by right now to monitor and improve your sleep.
WEARABLE OR NOT?
The big question you have to ask yourself before buying sleep trackers is whether you want a wearable one that straps to your wrist or a sleep tracker that does not hinder your sleep in anyway and lies peacefully under your pillow or on top of your mattress.
Sleep trackers come in two varieties: Wearable and Non-Wearable sleep trackers. Wearable sleep trackers look like watches or bracelets and you wear them to bed for active monitoring of your sleep. However, there have been reports that these devices might not be as accurate as the non-wearable ones. Wearable sleep trackers work on actigraphy which means they actively monitor your sleep only when you’re moving, and when you’re not they predict whether you’re asleep or not by other parameters such as pulse and heart rate. A major pro to the wearable sleep trackers is that they aren’t just sleep trackers. They also work as fitness, activity trackers. Therefore, they can be used during the day too that increases their versatility. Because these devices act as fitness trackers as well, we will also naturally expect them to be a little more costly than the non-wearable sleep trackers.
On the other hand, non-wearable sleep trackers are designed to only track your sleep and nothing else. Although this means the device isn’t multi-purpose, it will be a lot more accurate than the wearable sleep trackers. A drawback to these non-wearable trackers is that if you’re sharing a bed with someone, the device might pick up the wrong person’s reading.
WEARABLE SLEEP TRACKERS
The Fitbit Blaze has an incredible battery life and a smart design. It has a 1.66 inches LCD display that is colored. Compared to most wearable trackers, the Fitbit Blaze provides reliable sleep monitoring as well as daytime activity tracking. The Fitstar app is a bonus feature of the tracker that lets you watch your favorite shows as you exercise. Other features include calls, texts, calendar and a music player.
The Fitbit Blaze is, however, not waterproof and does not have an in-built GPS system.
FitBit Charge 2
Another product by FitBit, the FitBit Charge 2 activity and sleep tracking device is pretty accurate at what it does. It calculates your total sleep time and tells you for how many hours you were awake or experienced restless sleeping patterns. It, too, has bonus features of calling, texts etc. The design is pretty sleek and stylish too with a steel body and changeable wrist bands.
Again, this fitness/sleep tracker does not have built-in GPS nor is waterproof.
Jawbone UP3 is one of the most popular sleep trackers in the market. It allows automatic sleep monitoring and harbors sensors that give a detailed analysis of your sleeping patterns, including an overview of the hours spent in REM sleep stage and deep sleep stage. The Jawbone UP 3 has an excellent battery life and is sophisticated and light weight in design. It also has an app like its competitors. What impresses us is that despite its incredible specs, it’s not as much expensive as you’d expect it to be.
There is one major drawback through – there is no LCD display screen. Also, the Jawbone UP3 has better sleep tracking capabilities than daytime activity ones, therefore, it might not be the best choice if your focus is on activity tracking.
NON-WEARABLE SLEEP TRACKERS
Beddit 3.0 Smart Sleep Monitor
On 8th May, 2017, Apple acquired the Finnish firm, Beddit and might be using its ballistocardiography technology in its own devices like the Apple Watch soon. Beddit’s latest model, the 3.0 Smart Sleep Monitor is a thin strip that can be placed under your pillow or on your mattress and can be connected via cable to your iPhone or Android Beddit apps for the sleep-monitoring.It is pretty accurate and does not affect your sleep in any way since you can barely feel its presence. The BEddit sleep monitor automatically senses when you get in bed and also has an alarm system.
Like all other non-wearable trackers, Beddit too might cause erroneous readings if you’re sleeping with a partner.
S+ by ResMed
The S+ tracking device gives an accurate reading of light, REM and deep stages of sleep. They also form comparative results according to your gender and age. The device measures external parameters such as temperature, light and sound and has some unique features that include nightly questionnaires and reminders. The S+ also has an alarm feature. Additionally, the app can draw up sleep graphs and produce sleep reports as well.
The S+ isn’t automatic though and needs to be physically turned on to work. It’s not energy efficient and can drain up your phone battery pretty quickly.
Withings Aura Smart Sleep System
This sleep tracker might be a little different than the others in the group. It comes with an additional bedside unit that functions to monitor ambient temperature, light and noise. It also creates relaxing lights and sounds. The lights contain specific red wavelengths that trigger melatonin production and regulate your sleep-wake cycle. Furthermore, the bedside unit contains an alarm feature and timer. The strap itself is an accurate sleep monitor that gives a detailed analysis.
However, the Withings Aura isn’t a simple device to use. The app itself is pretty complicated. Also, it’s more expensive than the other sleep trackers of the same caliber.