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Best sleep tracker 2023: Improve your snoozes with the best sleep trackers

Pick the perfect tracker with this roundup of the best apps, wearables and freestanding sleep monitors

Sleep is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough quality sleep makes you more productive at work, and gives you the energy to exercise; studies have even linked poor sleep with overeating.

Unfortunately, while you can force yourself to go for a run or eat a salad, you can’t force yourself to sleep soundly. But there are steps you can take to improve your sleep, and buying a sleep tracker is one of them. These devices may not directly send you off to the land of Nod, but they’ll help you work out what makes you sleep better – whether that’s ditching the afternoon coffee or going to bed at the same time every night.

Here’s our guide to what sleep trackers can do for you, along with a roundup of the best trackers on the market.

Best sleep tracker: At a glance

How to choose the best sleep tracker for you

Ask yourself first of all what sort of tracker you’re looking for. If you’re comfortable sleeping with something on your wrist then you can get an excellent watch-style wearable that also doubles as an everyday activity and sports tracker. Alternatively, you can opt for a tracker that goes next to your bed, or sits under the mattress. Naturally, these devices will only monitor your sleep, but you can expect them to do a terrific job at that.

There are also plenty of sleep-tracking smartphone apps to consider. These aren’t quite as accurate as dedicated devices, but they might be more convenient, and are almost always cheaper.

What key features should I look for?

The most basic sleep trackers just record how long you’ve been asleep for, which is frankly not enough information to be useful. As a minimum, you want to see your sleep broken down into periods of light and deep sleep, along with any times when you were awake. Some trackers can also provide a graph of your movement overnight, and give information on conditions in your bedroom, such as how hot, humid or noisy it is.

If your tracker awards sleep-quality scores, that can make it easy to compare one night with another, and to see how your sleep patterns match up to those of other people in a similar demographic. The goal, of course, is to find what helps you sleep: for example, if you sleep better after exercise, or worse after drinking alcohol, the data from your tracker can help you spot that, and take steps to improve your habits.

Another worthwhile feature is a smart morning alarm that wakes you up at the right point in your sleep cycle so you don’t feel groggy. A long battery life is very desirable too: having to charge a tracker every day is a pain.

What else do I want it to track?

Many sleep trackers come built into general-purpose sports watches, which also track everyday activity statistics such as steps and calories burned. Some even feature outdoor sports tracking via GPS. If you’re the active type, such designs are well worth a look.

All-day heart-rate tracking is worth considering too, as this can help you keep tabs on your resting pulse rate – a great indicator of your cardiovascular fitness. And if you use one tracker for both sleep and sports, the partner app can pull all that information together to build up a revealing picture of your overall health.

How much do I need to spend?

A smartphone app is a good starting point for sleep-tracking, as it should set you back no more than a few pounds. If you’re looking for dedicated hardware, you can get a basic fitness watch with sleep tracking for £25-£50. For a premium model with a heart-rate monitor, you’re looking at around £100, and if you’re tempted by an all-singing, all-dancing sleep tracker with GPS sports tracking, prices are more likely to be in the £150-300 range.

When it comes to dedicated freestanding and under-mattress sleep trackers prices vary greatly, but you can expect to pay £100-250 for the best options.

READ NEXT: Collect the data you need to live better with our pick of the best fitness trackers 

The best sleep trackers you can buy in 2023

1. Sleep Cycle: Best sleep-tracking app

Price when reviewed: Free (in-app purchases)

This app can’t be beaten on price – it’s free for the basic version – and features a superb smart alarm that wakes you when it detects you’re in a light stage of sleep. This alone is worth the download, as it really helps you wake up feeling rested and refreshed in the morning.

Its actual sleep-tracking capabilities are impressive, too. The app uses your phone’s microphone and accelerometer to track your movements in the night, and generates graphs showing when you were in deep and light sleep, along with an overall sleep quality percentage.

What’s more, it can help you sleep better. It notes how certain activities in the day affect your night’s rest, and will come up with a score reflecting how much they either improve or decrease the quality of your sleep. Be aware though that while you can track your sleep for free, you’ll need a premium subscription (£25/year) to unlock some of these features.

Key specs – Battery life: N/A; Heart-rate tracking: No; Sport/activity tracking: No

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2. Honor Band 6: Best sleep tracker under £50

Price when reviewed: £47 | Check price at Amazon

This budget fitness tracker from Honor offers an astonishing array of features for just £47, including heart rate monitoring, sports tracking and an attractive 1.47” AMOLED colour screen. It also provides plenty of insight when it comes to your sleep. Along with now standard features like the time you spent in light, deep and REM sleep, you get an overall sleep score out of 100, and if you’re logging low scores, the app will offer advice on how you might go about improving your sleep.

The Honor Band 6 also offers 24/7 heart rate monitoring and blood oxygen saturation measurements, and it has 10 sports modes for tracking your exercise. It can also link to your phone to use its GPS when tracking outdoor activities like running and cycling.

It’s a very enticing package for under £50, but it is worth noting that the accuracy of the recordings from the Band 6 isn’t always up to the standard of pricier trackers. If it works for you though, it’s quite the bargain.

Key specs – Battery life: Up to 14 days (rechargeable); Heart-rate tracking: Yes; Sport/activity tracking: Yes

3. Fitbit Inspire 2: Best sleep tracker wristband

Price when reviewed: £44 | Check price at Amazon

Fitbit established itself by tracking steps, but the latest generation of its trackers goes well beyond basic pedometers, with automatic sports and sleep tracking as standard. When it comes to the latter, Fitbit separates itself from the pack not only through the accuracy of its sleep tracking but the insights it offers after you wake up and check your night’s rest.

The Sleep Stages feature breaks down your sleep into light, deep and REM sleep and advises on how much time you should ideally spend in each zone. That advice might seem quite hollow if it wasn’t for the Sleep Insights section of the app, which provides tips on how you might actually go about sleeping better, and also plots you against others in a similar demographic, so you can see if you’re getting an above- or below-average amount of rest.

Any Fitbit device with a heart-rate monitor offers these sleep tracking features, while pricier options like the Sense smartwatch also have a SpO2 sensor and the ability to take an ECG measurement from the wrist. However, the Inspire 2 is a stylish, discreet option that will get you access to Fitbit’s sleep tracking without having to spend more than £100.

Key specs – Battery life: Up to 10 days (rechargeable); Heart-rate tracking: Yes; Sport/activity tracking: Yes

4. Withings Sleep: Best under-mattress sleep tracker

Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Withings

Pop this tracker under your mattress and you’ll wake up to a world of in-depth info on your night’s rest, with your sleep cycles and heart rate automatically tracked – alongside your snoring. You get a simple sleep score that takes into account the amount of time in light, deep and REM sleep, whether your sleep was interrupted, how much time it took you to fall asleep and more.

It’s not just good for passive sleep tracking, though, as Withings provides a coach in the partner app that works to improve your sleep. The sensor can also make automatic adjustments to your environment when you get into bed by using IFTTT (If This Then That) integration to control the temperature and lights in the room.

Key specs – Battery life: Mains-powered; Heart-rate tracking: Yes; Sport/activity tracking: No

5. Polar Ignite 2: Best sports watch for sleep tracking

Price when reviewed: £200 | Check price at Polar

When it comes to the major players in serious sports tracking, Polar has the edge on Garmin, Coros and Suunto in terms of the quality of the sleep monitoring provided. The Ignite 2 is a great value sports watch with built-in GPS, heart rate tracking and a bright touchscreen, and the innovative features it offers in terms of tracking your rest and recovery can help any athlete improve their training.

The Ignite 2 gives in-depth feedback on your sleep through Polar’s Sleep Plus Stages feature, which shows the time spent in light, deep and REM sleep, and provides a sleep score based on six factors across three categories – amount, solidity and regeneration. Your ratings for the six factors are engagingly shown in a colour-coded star. You are also given a one-word description of how well you’ve recharged overnight, which is based on how well your autonomic nervous system (ANS) has recovered. This is calculated using heart rate variability, heart rate and breathing rate.

This recharge feature more or less is the watch’s way of saying how prepared you are to train that day, based on how well your body recovered overnight. So, if it’s saying your recovery was poor, maybe you should do an easy workout, or nothing at all, instead of that savage session you had planned. On top of all of that, the Ignite 2 will even suggest a variety of guided strength and cardio workouts based on how well you’ve recovered. Very smart indeed.

The Ignite 2 is a modest improvement on the original watch, updating the design with a range of new colours and a lovely engraved bezel, and adding music controls and weather forecasts to the watch. The core features remain the same, so you could nab the Ignite 1 in the sales and get the same sleep tracking if you fancy a bargain.

Key specs – Battery life: Up to 5 days (rechargeable); Heart-rate tracking: Yes; Sport/activity tracking: Yes

6. Oura Ring: The least intrusive sleep tracking wearable

Price when reviewed: €299 (about £263) | Check price at Oura

If you just can’t get on with wearing a wrist tracker while sleeping, the Oura Ring might be a better option. Even if you don’t mind wearing a watch but just want a top-notch sleep tracker you should still consider the Oura, because a whole lot of sleep-sensing smarts have been shoved inside its svelte frame.

The Oura tracks sleep automatically and gives you plenty of data to consider the next day. This includes time spent in different zones – light, deep and REM – how long it took you to fall asleep and how fragmented your rest was. All of this feeds into an overall sleep score which, over time, contributes to a rating of your ‘Readiness’ each morning. This shows how rested and prepared you are for the day, which for sporty types in particular might mean they change their planned training sessions if they aren’t as rested as they should be.

Key specs – Battery life: Seven days; Heart-rate tracking: Yes; Sport/activity tracking: Yes

Check price at Oura

7. Withings ScanWatch: Best sleep-tracking watch

Price when reviewed: £279 | Check price at Amazon

The elegant ScanWatch is perfect for anyone who wants to track their activity and sleep but prefers the classic look of an analogue watch to a fitness tracker. Aside from a small circular screen on the top half of the watch face, the ScanWatch looks like a normal watch, but it packs an impressive range of sensors into its svelte frame.

Those sensors allow it to measure your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation, and take medical-grade ECGs. They also contribute to the top-notch sleep tracking the ScanWatch offers. Alongside a sleep score out of 100 plus a graphical breakdown of your night, the watch will also rate the depth and duration of your sleep, and can detect breathing disturbances that can indicate sleep apnoea.

All the data tracked by the watch is synced to the partner Health Mate app, which does a great job of explaining what the stats show about your sleep, as well as providing advice on how to improve your rest.

Key specs – Battery life: Up to 30 days (rechargeable); Heart-rate tracking: Yes; Sport/activity tracking: Yes