By Amy Schlinger
Why is it that sleep is the first thing to go when we’re feeling stressed? We work late, we toss and turn, we wake up in the middle of the night…ugh. The worst.
It turns out that low-quality sleep actually sucks on a scientific level, not just a personal one. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, sleep affects not only your physical health, but also your mental health, quality of life, and safety, too. (Did you know that people are more likely to get into car accidents when they’re tired? Sad but true.)
While you probably know that you need between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, how do you really know you’re hitting those numbers? And even if you’re indeed getting enough shut-eye, are you getting enough deep sleep? (“Sleep Deep” is one of Nutritious Life’s pillars for a reason! High-quality slumber is a crucial component of health and happiness.)
That’s where a sleep tracker comes in handy.
“Trackers work,” says Michael Breus, PhD, board-certified sleep specialist, American Academy of Sleep Medicine fellow, and author of Good Night: The Sleep Doctor’s 4-Week Program to Better Sleep and Better Health. “But it’s important to track the relative data, not just the absolute data,” meaning you need to pay attention to any changes in your sleep patterns over time to see if something’s up with your lifestyle or overall health. One number in isolation isn’t as helpful.
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These sleep trackers help you do just that. Some even offer tips to help you improve aspects of your sleep—so you can log peaceful and recharging zzzs night after night after night.
(Featured photo: Shutterstock)
The Best Sleep Trackers
Best for Women: Fitbit Surge
You don’t need to tell this tracker that you’re tucking in for the night—it detects slumber automatically, thanks to a built-in heart-rate monitor. It also allows for feminine cycle tracking, so you can pick up on any patterns over the course of the month. (Anyone else sleep like garbage during their period? Condolences.)
This baby is so much more than a sleep tracker, though: You can also keep tabs on your runs in real-time with metrics like pace, distance, and even elevation displayed right on the face, then get detailed workout summaries when you’re done.
Best No-Fuss Tracker: Withings Sleep Tracking Pad
Perfect for people who like to limit the tech in their bedroom (fair), simply place this pad under your mattress, and—voila!—your work is done. As you rest, the pad tracks your heart rate, snoring, and any disturbances, then records the info in its app. From there, you’ll receive a daily sleep score that’s broken down into metrics like sleep duration, sleep depth, the amount of time it took you to fall asleep, and your overall sleep schedule. Pretty cool, right?
Best Budget Buy: Lintelek Activity Tracker with Heart-Rate Monitor
You simply cannot beat the price of this tracker. For under $30, you’ll score an all-day activity tracker that also monitors your sleep at night. It tracks steps, distance, and calories burned, and you can choose from 14 different exercises to track when you’re breaking a sweat. Then, it automatically detects a heart-rate drop as you hit the sack—hey, that workout was hard, okay?!
Best Ring: Wellue O2Ring Oxygen Tracker
Place this ring around your thumb, and it will continuously monitor your heart rate and oxygen levels while you rest. But don’t keep the data to yourself: Connect it to the app to share your #s with a doc or health pro who can help you make sense of any changes.
Best for Morning Haters: Fitbit Charge 2
The Fitbit Charge 2 tracks all your typical sleep info, but with one important bonus for alarm haters: a gentle vibrating alarm that helps you start your morning feeling calm, instead of frazzled. Just set a time range and it will wake you up during your lightest sleep, not in the middle of that Ryan Gosling dream. (FYI: You’ll get the same cycle tracking as in the FitBit Surge.)
Best for Runners: Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2
Want immediate feedback during your run? You’ll love this smartwatch that comes with built-in pace coaching, so you’ll know when you need to speed up or slow down without having to glance down at your wrist. It also alerts you if your heart rate is too high or too low, and even has a calming app that offers meditation sessions and breathing exercises when you need them most (stupid deadlines). Of course, it also tracks how much you sleep and offers insights to get better zzzs. You’re *this* close to your next PR with this one.
Best Advice: SleepScore Max Sleep Tracking Device
Set this device up next to your bed to (a) track your sleep patterns and (b) monitor your bedroom for things like light and sound. The result—a full sleep analysis! Using the app, you can look through the data, check out your sleep score, and learn smart ways to improve your sleep tomorrow night.