Choosing the Right Sleep Tracker for Your Needs

Find out what features to look for when selecting a sleep tracker. We review the top brands and provide insights to help you make the best choice.

7/11/20235 min read

There are three essential components to one's physical health: exercise, diet, and sleep. The fitness industry often emphasizes the first two while neglecting the importance of the third. Sleep is just as important as exercise and diet for overall health. When we sleep, our bodies are able to rest and repair themselves. Sleep also helps to regulate our hormones, which can affect our mood, appetite, and weight.

Lack of sleep can lead to a number of health problems, including:

  • Increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and stroke

  • Impaired cognitive function and memory

  • Mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety

  • Increased risk of accidents and injuries

However, sleep is not a single state, but rather a series of stages that progress in a predictable pattern. These stages are divided into two main categories: non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

  • NREM sleep is further divided into three stages: N1, N2, and N3. N1 is the lightest stage of sleep, and N3 is the deepest. During NREM sleep, the body's heart rate and breathing slow down, and muscles relax. Brain activity also slows down, but there are still some bursts of activity.

  • REM sleep is the stage of sleep when we dream. During REM sleep, the eyes move rapidly, and brain activity is similar to that of wakefulness. However, the body is paralyzed, except for the eyes and muscles that control breathing.

  • A typical night's sleep consists of four to five sleep cycles, each of which lasts about 90 minutes. The first few cycles are mostly NREM sleep, with shorter REM periods. Later in the night, the REM periods get longer.

It is vital to get enough REM cycles in during sleep for proper recovery to happen. Therefore, just tracking how many hours of sleep you get is insufficient, it is also important to make sure that you are getting enough deep sleep and enough REM cycles. This is what sleep trackers can help with, here are my top 5 sleep trackers and apps.

Sleep Tracker #1: Amazfit Band

Link: Amazfit Band

Description:

Here are some specific ways that the Amazfit Band 5 can help someone track their sleep cycles:

Sleep stages: The Amazfit Band 5 tracks your sleep stages, so you can see how much time you spend in each stage of sleep. This information can help you to identify any areas where you may need to improve your sleep habits.

Sleep efficiency: The Amazfit Band 5 also tracks your sleep efficiency, which is a measure of how well you use your sleep time. A high sleep efficiency means that you are spending more time in deep sleep, which is the most important stage of sleep for physical restoration.

Wake-up times: The Amazfit Band 5 has a built-in alarm that can wake you up during your lightest sleep stage. This is the best time to wake up because you are more likely to feel refreshed.

Overall, the Amazfit Band 5 is a great option for anyone who wants to track their sleep cycles and improve their sleep quality. It is affordable, easy to use, and provides a wealth of information about your sleep patterns. The best part is that it is more affordable than other sleep trackers such as a Fitbit or an Apple Watch.

Sleep Tracker #2: Smart Watch Fitness Tracker

Link: Smart Watch Fitness Tracker

Description: The smart watch fitness tracker is an affordable option that is comfortable to wear while you sleep and has a high battery life. In addition to tracking sleep, it keeps track of your heart rate, blood pressure and blood oxygen. It is a holistic product and can be used to greatly improve your lifestyle. With respect to sleep metrics, it tracks total sleep time, time spent in REM sleep, and time spent in deep sleep, giving you a comprehensive breakdown of your sleeping habits.

Sleep Tracker #3: Fitbit

Link: Fitbit

Description:

Fitbit is a well-known brand for fitness trackers and for good reason. Their devices are reliable, accurate, and easy to use. But what really sets Fitbit apart is its sleep-tracking capabilities. Fitbit uses a combination of sensors to track your sleep, including your heart rate, movement, and breathing. This allows them to provide you with a detailed breakdown of your sleep, including how much time you spent in each sleep stage, your sleep efficiency, and your sleep score. Of course, Fitbit devices aren't cheap. But the price is worth it if you're serious about improving your sleep. Having access to this kind of data can help you identify areas where you can improve your sleep habits, and ultimately get a better night's sleep. Again, this is a holistic fitness tracker and is definitely worth the price.

Sleep Tracker #4: FITVII Fitness Tracker

Link: FITVII Fitness Tracker

Description:

This is another affordable sleep tracker for those who don't want to buy a fitbit or an apple watch. Personally, I found this product to be a little bit clunky and not super comfortable to sleep with, but it has very detailed sleep metrics. While it might be uncomfortable at first, you get accustomed to it over time. The tracking is very high quality though, I found it to be just as accurate as an apple watch despite it being a fraction of the price. It can record your workouts and your heart rate and will keep you alert about your activity throughout the day. Another pro is that is has a very high battery life, so you don't have to worry about charging it constantly. I would definitely recommend this if you're looking to not spend hundreds of dollars on a sleep tracker.

Sleep Tracker #5: Pillow

Link: Pillow

Description: While it is not a standalone sleep tracker, pillow interfaces with your apple watch, to give you a detailed description of your sleep cycles. Based on your heart rate, it can track when you dip into REM sleep and your various NREM cycles. It then gives you a sleep quality score based on how much deep sleep and REM sleep you got.