The best sleep tech for you will heavily depend on what you want to improve. Is your main concern how sleep impacts your exercise performance? Or are you hoping to mask the sound of your snoring partner? Maybe you want a more health-focused aid that tracks breathing disturbances? Sleep tech runs the gamut from trackers and apps to expensive smart beds, but it doesn’t all address the same issues. Before you pull out your wallet, you should know how a gadget will help you achieve your specific sleep goals.
Another factor to keep in mind is how well a device slots into your lifestyle. There’s no point to wrist-based sleep trackers if you wake up in the middle of the night to take them off. If you can’t wear a watch, earbuds, or a ring to bed, you may want to look into non-invasive options like the Withings Sleep or the Google Nest Hub.
Likewise, excellent battery life is also a must. It’s not great if a device can’t reliably last through the night or requires a special charging schedule. (Fast charging can only help so much when you’re exhausted.) That’s why you won’t find smartwatches like the Apple Watch or any Wear OS watch on this list.
Also, take sleep tracking accuracy with a grain of salt. Sleep tech has come a long way in just a few short years, but these aren’t medical devices. Gadgets like the Withings ScanWatch might have FDA clearance for monitoring sleep disturbances, but that doesn’t mean they can diagnose you with sleep apnea. No matter how advanced the sensors are, or how many features a product may boast, trackers are meant to help spot when something’s off. Nothing more.
Taking all that into consideration, I’ve compiled these recommendations based on how well a sleep gadget addresses the problems it’s trying to fix. We also considered comfort, accuracy, battery life, and whether it provides good context for its data.
The best overall sleep tracker
The $299 Oura Ring isn’t a fitness tracker that happens to track sleep. It’s a sleep tracker that happens to track some fitness metrics. The ring has seven temperature sensors, a green LED sensor for measuring heart rate, and red and infrared LEDs to measure blood oxygen. That’s not including the battery or accelerometers.
All these sensors provide a holistic look at your recovery. Each morning, you’re given a report on your readiness, sleep quality, and activity goals for the day. These reports tell you how your sleep impacts your daily ability to take on stress, and whether you should take it easy or challenge yourself. The app also includes wellness features like guided meditations and white noise to help you fall asleep.
Of all the sleep gadgets I’ve tested, the Oura Ring has the best context for its data and presents it in an intuitive way. Its version of blood oxygen monitoring is also preferable to the random spot checks found on devices like the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4. Instead, the Oura Ring passively monitors your blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) levels during sleep and encourages you to check your baseline over a lengthy period of time. It’s not exciting, but it’s a more useful measure for the average person. It’s also one of the few devices to include a recovery mode. If you’re sick or injured, you can hit pause on your activity goals until you’re back to full health.
But the main appeal here is the form factor: A ring is infinitely more comfortable than a watch. And although it’s not the most fashionable, it’s nondescript enough to wear to any event. Plus, you get up to a week on a single charge. (Though in my testing, I got four to five days. Enabling SpO2 monitoring will also drain battery.)
The only thing I don’t love is that it now comes with a $6 monthly subscription. However, if you’re truly passionate about monitoring your sleep and willing to commit long-term, it’s well worth the price.
The best smartwatch with sleep tracking
If you want a more robust fitness tracker that also has great sleep tracking, then the $329.95 Fitbit Sense is a good option. While not as full-featured for smartwatch functions as the Apple Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, it leverages Fitbit’s superior sleep tracking platform (though you’ll unfortunately have to pony up $10 monthly, or $79.99 annually, for Fitbit’s Premium service to see the most in-depth metrics.)
Fitbit was early to sleep tracking and it shows. Of course you get sleep stages, but you can also view how your sleep compares to other people your age and sex. Like the Oura Ring, it eschews SpO2 spot checks for passive overnight tracking (via the Estimated Oxygen Variation metric) and also provides a Daily Readiness Score based on your long-term activity and sleep quality. Fitbit Premium subscribers also get access to a ton of wellness content — if that’s your thing. Apple and Samsung are still catching up in this arena in terms of accuracy, battery life, and how detailed the sleep metrics they provide are.
One thing that’s unique about the Sense is its electrodermal activity sensor (EDA). This measures minuscule levels of sweat on your skin to gauge your stress levels. Fitbit’s designed one of the more meaningful stress-tracking features, as it gives you a space to log your emotional well-being within the app. This, combined with sleep tracking, is an excellent wellness tool. If you don’t care about stress monitoring, you can save by opting for the $229.95 Versa 3. And if you’d prefer a fitness band, the $179.95 Charge 5 is a more affordable option with the EDA sensor. (Both are also frequently on sale.)
Lastly, in testing I got roughly a week of battery life on a single charge. That’s oodles better than most other flagship smartwatches — even if you’re giving up fancier features like LTE connectivity and useful third-party apps.
The best sleep tracker for athletes
As far as recovery goes, no sleep tech gadget goes the extra mile for athletes quite like Whoop. It primarily tracks your body’s ability to take on cardiovascular strain, but its take on sleep is unique. Instead of focusing on sleep quality, it zeroes in on your sleep debt and whether the sleep you’re getting is enough to fuel your training.
If you’re into logging how certain factors impact your sleep, Whoop is far ahead of the competition. You can log how anything from the COVID-19 vaccine to magnesium supplements affects your sleep. It’s not a necessary feature, but it’s a bonus if sleep journaling is important to you.
Unlike with most modern wearables, you’ll get next to nothing in the way of notifications or smart features. However, that also means it’s got good battery life. The Whoop 4.0 also comes with a portable battery pack that slides onto the tracker itself. The result is you can go several days without ever having to take the tracker off. Whoop also gives you flexible options for wearing the device. For example, you can opt to wear it on your bicep, in your leggings, or even in a sports bra.
That said, this is a niche product best suited for athletes who engage in intensive cardio sports. (It’s not the best at tracking strain from activities like strength training.) The device costs nothing, but the $30 monthly subscription is steep, and if you’re a casual athlete, your money is better spent elsewhere. But if you are someone who’s always training for an event or prone to overtraining, the Whoop 4.0 can get you that extra edge.
The best sleep earbuds for falling asleep
If you just want to fall asleep easier, the $249 Bose SleepBuds II are some of the most comfortable options around. The wireless buds feature wingtips and a flat design that lies flush with your ear, so they’re less likely to fall out as you sleep. They also have an anti-friction coating for side sleepers. (No weird pillow rubbing noises!) Sleeping with earbuds is notoriously uncomfortable for many people, so the lightweight and secure design here is a major win.
These aren’t noise-canceling buds, though — they’re more like mini white noise machines that you stick in your ear. It might take you a bit of experimenting to find a volume that works for you, but they’re effective at masking ambient noise. You can also set an alarm that gradually gets louder, without waking up a sleep partner.
Bose has a library of about 50 soundscapes, and they’re stored locally on the buds themselves — meaning you don’t have to worry about streaming audio zapping battery life or Bluetooth connections dropping in the middle of the night. You get about 10 hours of continuous use, and the charging case only needs to be topped up every four to five days. The only rub is that you can’t play your own content. (If you need to play your own content, the Kokoon Nightbuds are an alternative for the same price. However, they’re not as polished.)
The price is a bit steep, but Bose also offers a 90-day free trial. You’ll know whether these work for you within a week or two, and if they do work, they’re well worth the investment.
The best budget sleep mat
If you don’t want to wear any gadgets to bed, the $99.95 Withings Sleep is a good, affordable option. It’s a long, rectangular mat with sensors and a fabric covering that you slip under your mattress. The sleep tracking was wonky when this product was first launched as the Nokia Sleep, but has since been improved. In addition to your heart rate and sleep cycles, it also tracks snoring and breathing disturbances. It’s also not battery-operated, so you don’t have to worry about charging the device every day.
The Withings Sleep is also one of the best options if you’re trying to suss out long-term sleeping patterns. Within the Withings app, you can generate an automatic, comprehensive sleep diary that helps break down important trends and visualize your metrics. That report can then be exported as a PDF that you share with your doctor.
The Withings Sleep isn’t particularly fancy, but it punches above its weight. Plus, it’s often on sale for around $70 and Withings also offers a bundle in case you need a second one for your sleep partner.
The best temperature-regulating sleep tech
For folks who run hot or cold, the Eight Sleep Pod 2 Pro Cover (starting at $1,795) is an effective way to stop fighting over the blankets. The cover zips over your own mattress and comes with a water pump that regulates temperature on both sides of the bed. You can manually set your temperature schedules, or, if you opt for a $19 monthly membership, Eight Sleep has an autopilot function that adjusts the temperature of your bed for you. It plugs into an outlet, so there’s also no need to worry about battery life unless there’s a blackout.
There’s also a silent alarm that vibrates to wake up one partner without disturbing the other. The cover itself has sensors for sleep tracking, though that’s not its primary focus. The app gives good context as to what your sleep data means, though it’s better for monitoring sleep consistency and habits than sleep quality or recovery.
Eight Sleep just launched a newer version of this device, which adds more sensors and the ability to connect to 5Ghz Wi-Fi. However, you can save money by getting the Pod 2 Pro Cover if sensor accuracy isn’t your top concern. Despite the cost, the cover does its main job very well and is more affordable than whole smart beds that also offer cooling.
Source: The Verge