Best Sleep Monitoring Devices 2017
Updated on March 28th, 2017
When fitness trackers first came out a few years ago, they were, essentially glorified pedometers. Over the years, however they have become more sophisticated. Today, people want more and more advanced features packed into their devices.
Most adults in the United States are sleep deprived. We stay up too late, get up too early and toss and turn in the hours between. As a result, many of us struggle through the day in a constant state of lethargy. Fitness band sleep trackers are designed to do something about that.
The quantity and quality of our sleep is being recognized as an integral part of overall health and wellness. Fitness and activity tracker manufacturers have acknowledged this by incorporating sleep tracking capabilities into their devices. In this article we will discover which is the best sleep tracking device on the market today. We will also consider just how sleep tracker bracelets work and find out how accurate your wrist based sleep monitor device really is.
How Do Sleep Trackers Work?
The main way that your sleep cycle watch measures your sleep activity is through actigraphy. Actigraphy uses movement, as measured through an accelerometer to measure your sleep. This is based on the idea that the period when you are awake you are moving more than when you are asleep.
Even though polysomnography is the most accurate measure of sleep activity, it has its problems. It involves hooking a person to a whole lot of measuring machines before they fall asleep. This, in itself, is bound to ensure that the person does not have a normal sleep; it is far too invasive. As a result actigraphy has been used by researchers as a less invasive method of recording sleep activity for decades.
How Accurate Are Sleep Trackers?
Sleeptracker watches provide relatively little data when compared to the gold standard for measuring the quality of sleep - polysomnography. This is a collection of different physiological measures that can be used to define and characterize sleep. Patients stay overnight for these sophisticated sleep studies which require a slew of equipment, from muscle monitors to EKG machines.
Fitness monitors use accelerometers to measure actigraphy. Rather than actually measuring sleep, they are measuring an indirect approximation of sleep through movement. In order to make estimations of deep or light sleep, they use an algorithm that takes into account the relative amount of your bodily movement over the course of the night.
So, how accurate is actigraphy as a method of measuring sleep? A study was conducted in 2011 by Martin and Hakim which looked at that very question. Their conclusion was as follows:
Although actigraphy should not be viewed as a substitute for clinical interviews, sleep diaries, or overnight polysomnography when indicated, it can provide useful information about sleep in the natural sleep environment and/or when extended monitoring is clinically indicated.
Sleep tracking wristbands are unable to record sleep latency, which is the time it takes to fall asleep. Neither are they very good at telling how long you are awake in the middle of the night or your total sleep time relative to the time you are in bed.
Sleep monitor devices do encourage you to pay more attention to your sleep habits. This is a very good thing. A lack of sleep can affect mood, ability to concentrate and stay tuned in to our day. Fitness band sleep trackers not only help us to get our steps in. They also help us to get our zzz’s in.
Sleep Tracker Reviews
The Best Sleep Monitor
The JawBone UP3 catapulted itself into our number one spot as the best sleep tracking device on the 2017 market because it is packed with advanced sleep metrics - and it is the most comfortable device to wear on your wrist at night.
The UP3 tracker uses multi sensor technology to capture both your resting heart rate and you passive heart rate. Resting heart rate is measured once per day, while passive heart rate is measured throughout the course of the day, when you body is still.
The UP3 provides advanced activity tracking to give you a complete picture of your day’s activity. You also get nutritional tracking of your food, drink, calories and nutrients. The Smart Coach feature will deliver personalized insights based upon your activity.
The UP3 will give you seven days of battery life off a one hour charge, using JawBone’s proprietary charger. For accurate readings you need the device to neither be too tight or too light. It should be positioned about three finger widths down your wrist.
The JawBone app is in depth with a lot of cool features that you can delve into. The Smart Coach feature gives you personalized advice on your fitness, sleep and overall health goals. You can manually log and track a whole host of different workouts, exercises and food and drink.
The device uses a lot of sensors to track your sleep activity, including heart rate, body temperature, and accelerometer to give you high accuracy readings. To start sleep tracking, you can either use the app or just tap on the band a couple of times. The device will vibrate and glow the blue moon icon when you are in sleep mode.
The JawBone UP3 will detect you four main stages of sleep: wake, light sleep, deep sleep and REM. The device will also automatically track your resting heart rate moments after waking up. This is regarded as the purest and most consistent signal of your heart health. The summary screen of all of your sleep analytics is very detailed and easy to follow.
The UP3 also features a smart alarm. In the app you are able to set an alarm time and a smart sleep window. This will identify the best moment of the sleep cycle to wake you up. It will gently and silently vibrate on your wrist at that time. The silent buzzing won’t wake up your partner as a noisy alarm would.
Another useful feature of the UP3 is the idle alert feature. If you have been sitting at your desk for too long without movement, the device will give you a gentle buzz to get moving again. The UP3 syncs wirelessly over Bluetooth 4.0. It is water resistant against sweat and rain (you can even wear it in the shower). The design is very clean, being minimal and light weight. It doesn’t have a screen to tell you the time or how many steps you have traveled, but that adds to the simplistic, minimalistic look and feel of the UP3.
Overall, the UP3 is a very durable device with accurate tracking and lots of features.
- Advanced activity system
- Advanced sleep tracking system
- 7 days of battery life
- You need JawBone’s charging device to charge the UP3
- Attaching the device to your wrist is a little tricky
The Best of the Rest
The VivoFit by Garmin is a smart activity tracker. It will learn your current activity level and then set attainable daily goals based upon what you are currently doing. As you meet your milestones, VivoFit will adjust your goal for the next day, gradually nudging you towards a healthier lifestyle.
The Garmin VivoFit has a hugely impressive one year of battery life. It displays steps, distance, calories burned and sleep.
- Water resistant
- Stylish and comfortable to wear
- One year battery life
- Band clasp is fidgety
The QBand Fitness Tracker is a high performance device that comes in a slimline design. It features GPS calibrated stride monitoring to a distance accuracy of 95%. You are able to check your heart rate while exercising, along with steps and calories burned. The OLED display provides you with an attractive, clear readout of your key training analytics. The high powered battery provides you with 10 days charge.
The QBand Fitness Tracker provides you with excellent sleep monitoring. It will analyze your sleep pattern, breaking it down into types of sleep and restlessness. You also get a silent alarm that vibrates to wake you up. Movement reminders also get you motivated during times of inactivity. In addition, this tracker allows you to track your phone calls and messages.
- Constant heart rate monitoring
- 10-day battery charge
- Advanced sleep monitoring
- Wrist clasp not very durable
Find out which are the best fitness and activity trackers for running by reading our in-depth review of the top 5 of 2017 here.
The FitBit One is powered by a rechargeable built-in battery. This device will monitor how long and how well you sleep. It will set goals, view goals and it will award you with badges. It will also track steps, goals, distance, calories burned and stairs climbed.
- Syncs automatically to your computer
- Water resistant
- Smart silent alarm
- Not a very user friendly design
The E Tronic Edge Smart Band is a highly functional fitness tracker that does an accurate job of monitoring all of your fitness and heath diagnostics, including steps, calories, speed, distance and time. You get round the clock heart rate monitoring along with detailed sleep analysis that tells what parts of the night need extra attention. The silent alarm wakes you up in the morning without interfering with other people.
The E Tronic Edge Smart Band provides you with a full week’s activity off a single charge. In addition, it works with your phone, providing you with call and message alerts and even has a handy lost phone feature. A goal setting feature keeps you on track.
- Constant heart rate monitoring
- Goal setting features
- 7-day charge
- Sleep monitoring not overly accurate
Monitoring your sleep activity was once an almost impossible task. Now it is as easy as choosing and wearing the best fitness band sleep tracker device on the market. Our review has revealed that product to the JawBone UP3. Also producing excellent sleep tracking watches are Garmin, Misfit and FitBit.
ITek are a technology company that are making a name for themselves as a quality fitness tracking manufacturer. Get up close and personal with their ITek fitness tracker here. Click here if you want to have an overall look of the top fitness trackers currently in the market today.