The Best Sleep Monitors To Improve Your Sleep

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Why do you need a sleep monitor?

This may be a question that is frequently raised, and it seems like a reasonable question at first. You probably don’t realize it right now, but this is actually the same as asking “why do I need to sleep”. And it truly is alarming how often people decide to cut down on sleep to save time and get something done, as if anything in the world could be as important as getting enough sleep. You need a sleep monitor because you need a good rest. Human beings are “wired” to alternate between the states of being asleep and being awake.

What sleep phases are there?

There are four phases of sleep. Three of these phases precede the phase of rapid-eye movement sleep (REM – your eyes move rapidly). These three can last from 5 to 15 minutes and you go through all of them.

In the first stage your eyes are closed, but it is not hard to wake you up. In the second stage you are sleeping light. Your temperature drops and your heart rate slows down. Phase three is that of deep sleep – it’s harder to be woken in this stage. When someone does, you feel kind of “out of it” for a short while. These stages of sleep are important because the body repairs tissues, enhances the immune system and builds bone and muscle during them.

Then comes REM sleep. Usually, REM sleep comes about an hour and a half after you fall asleep. People can have up to 5 periods of REM sleep a night, each one longer than the one before it. Your breathing and heart rate quicken in this phase. People report remembering their dreams as well, which is because the brain is more active.

Why do I need a sleep tracker and how do sleep trackers work?

Most sleep trackers are equipped with small motion detectors. The underlying theory is that if you’re moving, you’re awake. This technology is known as actigraphy. Sleep trackers determine the best window of time that you should wake up based on your sleep pattern, which is of course unique. The sleep pattern is established based on a series of electrodes that measure brain activity and sensors that measure movement and respiration. The electrodes measure voltage fluctuations across a specific area of neurons, below which each electrode is located, in ionic current flow. The monitor shows these fluctuations as waves.

A sleep tracker can also tell you when the best time is for you to wake up (which sleep phase). This is different for everyone. It is thought that being interrupted in the wrong phase can be harmful. Researchers and experts share that they are instructed not to wake sleep study participants if they’re in REM, even if the experiment is over.
So, what are the best sleep trackers out there?

Beddit Smart 2.0

Beddit 3 Sleep Tracker, White, One Size
  • Ultra thin, soft & flat sensor placed atop your mattress and hidden under your Sheet nothing to wear, it works in every...
  • Measures sleep, heart RATE, breathing, snoring and bedroom environment (temp & humidity) accurately and continuously...
  • Tracking starts automatically when you Go to bed, no app to open or buttons to press, powered by a USB power Adapter...

You can put the Beddit Smart ultra-thin sensor anywhere under your bed covers. It collects data on your pulse, sleep quality and duration, and blood pressure.

Withings Aura

On Sale!
Withings Aura - Smart Sleep System
  • Sorry, Withings no longer provides support, updates or repairs for this product. Please visit our website for the latest...

The Aura helps people who have had poor quality of sleep for some time. This kit will track your sleep patterns and wake you up during the right phase, meaning you will be a healthy and happy person in the morning.

Jawbone UP3

UP3 by Jawbone Heart Rate, Activity + Sleep Tracker, Indigo Twist (Navy Blue)
  • Heart health monitoring throughout the day
  • Get personalized guidance from Smart Coach
  • Advanced sleep tracking automatically to capture REM, Light and Deep

The myriad of biosensors on this state of the art device track a user’s heartbeat, breathing, galvanization and body temperature. The Jawbone Up3 (more Info: Fitbit Charge HR vs Jawbone Up3 comparison) can reportedly tell the difference between the phases of sleep.

Fitbit Blaze

On Sale!
Fitbit Blaze Smart Fitness Watch, Black, Silver, Small (5.5 - 6.7 inch) (US...
  • See simplified heart rate zones for quickly checking exercise intensity during workouts with PurePulse (continuous,...
  • Use multi sport tracking to track runs, cardio, cross training, biking and more; Effortlessly and automatically record...
  • Enable connected GPS to map your routes and see run stats like pace and duration on display (when your phone is nearby)

This is the first Fitbit that looks like a smart watch. However, this is not at the expense of its sleep tracking functions. The company’s reputation speaks for itself.

Check out also our Fitbit Blaze replacement bands and accessories.

Fitbit One

Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, Black (Renewed)
  • Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and stairs climbed
  • Monitor how long and how well you sleep
  • Wakes you (and not your partner) with a silent alarm

The Fitbit One is perfectly suited to those who don’t necessarily insist on flashing a glamorous piece of tech on the wrist. It’s different from all other trackers in that it’s small, discreet and designed to fit into your clothing. When you go to sleep, it fits nicely into a wrist strap. The Fitbit One won’t give you the details of your sleep stages – it will only show you how long you were asleep, when you woke up during the night and how long you were awake.

Misfit Shine 2

Misfit Shine 2 Fitness Tracker & Sleep Monitor (Rose Gold)
  • Vibration alerts for call and text notifications, movement reminders, and alarms
  • Smart button enabled to control connected household devices
  • Swimproof, anodized aluminum disc with multicolor LED progress and time display

The Misfit Shine 2 would be a great choice because it guarantees real, complete sleep comfort. It also guarantees accurate vital stat readings and is a rather cheap sleep monitor.

SleepBot App

SleepBot is praised as the easiest-to-use sleep app out there. You can use it as a full-scale tracker or even as a simple time log. SleepBot tracks your movement, sleep patterns and sound levels and can show you how these will affect you in the long-term.

SleepCycle App

Sleep Phase App

The Sleep Cycle App will use your Smartphone’s accelerometer to monitor your night time activity. To make sure you feel great throughout the day, it will wake you up during your lightest sleep phase.

Even more facts

The record for staying up is not one that the Guinness Book of Records is very willing to maintain, but there is one (Randy Gardner, 16 years old in 1964, stayed awake for 11 days and 24 minutes) [Source]. Not only that – efforts are constantly being made to beat his record.

Sleep deprivation is not only unhealthy – it can be dangerous. Before Gardner, then-DJ Tom Rounds declared he was going to try and stay awake as long as possible to raise money for some charity his station was involved in. Rounds stayed up for 260 hours, which is just six hours less than Gardner managed to. The achievement ultimately helped him get a promotion and a ton of money, which may have been his plan all along, but with sleep deprivation things don’t always go according to plan. On the third day of sleeplessness he started having hallucinations, including monsters who were trying to get him and all the things typical of an acid trip, only that he hadn’t taken any drugs at all.

Unlike Rounds, Gardner didn’t report any such occurrences. After the experiment he was quoted as saying that all he’d wanted was to beat the record and had no regrets. He reported being unable to concentrate, feeling anxious and agitated. This is not something unusual even for many people who sleep eight hours straight (This is why you need a sleep monitor!). However, those around him said he became moody and violent to the point of situations getting out of control. This behaviour, quite untypical of the boy next door, persisted for weeks after the experiment.

OK, so these are extreme examples. But we’re not talking about 11 days – try going without sleep for 24 hours. Only 24 hours. See if you like it.