The 8 Best Sleep-Tracking Activity Monitors to Buy in 2018

Overall health means getting a good night's sleep as well as enough physical activity each day. Some research also says that successful weight loss depends on sleep. Many activity monitors also track how long you sleep and the quality of your sleep, including the number of times your sleep is interrupted. Some assess deep sleep vs. light sleep. Most also have alarms to wake you up, with some of them picking the best time to do so.

Since this feature was first introduced, the top brands of activity monitors have included automatic sleep detection so you don't have to remember to start and stop a sleep period. Those that have wrist-based heart rate detection also provide more sleep data. If you have an older model but you want better sleep-tracking features, it may be time for an upgrade.

Jawbone UP

Jawbone UP has excellent automatic sleep monitoring and analysis and coaches you to better sleep habits. It integrates the MotionX sleep detection technology. The current models of this wristband activity monitor include the UP2 and the UP3, both of which have automatic sleep detection. The UP4 is the same as the UP3 but has a payment feature. The UP MOVE does not track sleep.

  • Sleep Recording: The UP2 and UP3 automatically detect sleep. You can also log sleep time for any period it might have missed and it will analyze the data from that period, or you can start and stop sleep recording from the app.
  • Wearing It for Sleep: You wear the wristband day and night.
  • Alarms: The UP has a Smart Alarm setting. You set your preferred wake-up time and will vibrate when you are in a period of light sleep up to 30 minutes before that time.
  • Sleep Data: Both UP2 and UP3 track time you went to sleep and woke up, total time you were asleep, total time in bed, time it took to fall asleep, number of times you woke up, and total time you were awake. The UP3 has advanced sleep tracking and it reports total time of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep. The UP2 reports light sleep and sound sleep. The UP3 also reports resting heart rate and you can see the heart rate graph during your sleep period.
  • Sleep Coaching: The Smart Coach in the app gives you suggestions for getting better sleep, including coaxing you to go to bed earlier or getting more exercise earlier in the day.
  • Compatible Sleep Apps: Sleepio
  • Other Data: Steps, distance, total calorie burn, active calorie burn, resting calorie burn, active minutes, longest active time, longest idle time, meal tracking with nutrition analysis, idle alerts (set it to vibrate when you've been sitting for a period of time).

MotionX Sleep 24/7 App

MotionX Sleep
MotionX Screen Capture by Wendy Bumgardner

The MotionX 24/7 Sleep App practically-free iOS app might be all you need—if you have an iPhone and you carry it with you all day and are willing to sleep with it at night. Its technology provides the brains behind the Jawbone UP's sleep analysis. You can use it as an all-day pedometer and track individual workouts.

  • Sleep Recording: You can set the phone on your bed or wear it attached to your body. You tell the app which you are doing so it uses a different sensitivity setting for each. You can set a sleep goal. To use it, open the app and tell it to Start Sleep. End it when you get up.
  • Alarms: You can set a definite alarm time, or use the Smart Alarm setting to wake you when you are in light sleep within your chosen time period before that time. You can schedule alarms by day of the week. You can set the volume, choose sounds or songs from your playlist, set vibration, and set snooze alarm settings. You can set multiple alarms.
  • Power Nap: You can set a power nap alert and it will wake you after your chosen time (from 15 minutes to 180 minutes).
  • Sleep Data: Actual time asleep, total time in bed, time it took to fall asleep, number of times awakened, minutes of light sleep, minutes of deep sleep, minutes awake in bed, sleep efficiency percentage, graph showing periods of deep sleep, light sleep and time awake. You also see a 7-day average and have an ongoing sleep log. It also has snoring, sleep-talking, and sleep apnea detection.
  • Other Data: You can use this app as an always-on pedometer by turning on the 24/7 Step Count, although that will use up your battery time faster. You can also record individual walks with steps, distance, step calories, and cadence. It has a voice coach and you can get audio feedback for a timed walk, steps, or calories, choosing the interval and volume. To reduce your sitting time, you can set Get Active Alerts. You can also measure your resting heart rate.
  • Publisher's Site

Fitbit models including the Flex 2, Charge 2, Alta, Surge, Blaze, Ionic, and older models can be used to track your sleep quality. The Fitbit Zip does not have that capability. Fitbits upload wirelessly to a mobile app or computer.

  • Sleep Recording: The current models all automatically detect sleep while you need to remember to turn on and turn off sleep-tracking with the Fitbit One and some of the older models.
  • Wearing it for Sleep: You can simply wear the wristband models to bed. They provide a soft wristband for the One.
  • Alarms: You can set up to eight vibrating silent alarms from the online dashboard or app, specifying days of the week and repeating or not repeating.
  • Sleep Data: Actual time asleep, number of times and minutes awakened, number of times and minutes restless, graph. The Charge 2, Alta HR, Blaze, and Ionic have advanced sleep stage detection for light, deep, and REM sleep. The other models don't have a heart rate detector and therefore distinguish between light sleep vs. deep sleep. See daily, weekly, monthly, 3-month and yearly graphs of time asleep and times awakened.
  • Other Data: Steps, distance, total daily calories burned, time of day (all but Flex), activity indicator, reminders to move (some models). You can also use their food diary and nutrition analysis via the online dashboard or app.

Polar A370

The Polar A370 is their current model of 24/7 fitness tracker. It includes a heart rate sensor to allow it to track your sleep with their Sleep Plus system.

  • Sleep Recording: Automatically detects your sleep time.
  • Wearing it for Sleep: Just wear the wristband.
  • Sleep Data: You get a total sleep time and duration of actual sleep, inerruptions, and a grade of 1 to 5 for sleep continuity. You can set a preferred sleep time and goal and rate your sleep. The Polar Flow app analyzes your sleep patterns and gives you feedback.
  • Other Data: Time of day, steps, distance, calories burned, active time broken out into time up, moderately active, and very active, inactivity alerts, wrist-based heart rate measurement, heart rate zones, and it can link to Bluetooth Polar heart rate monitor straps to display your heart rate and track exercise sessions. As well, it can link to your mobile phone's GPS to give you speed, distance, and route. It also can link to your mobile phone and provide smart notifications.

Garmin vivofit 3 and vivosmart 3

The Garmin activity bands also track sleep.

  • Sleep Recording: The vivofit 3 and vivosmart 3 have automatic sleep detection. Earlier models required starting and stopping sleep recording.
  • Sleep Data: On the app or dashboard you can view your total sleep period time and a sleep graph with low to high movement.
  • Other Data: Both the vivofit and vivosmart track steps, calories burned, intensity minutes, and automatically detect and track exercise sessions. They remind you to move when inactive. The vivosmart 3 has wrist-based heart rate monitoring, which it uses to calculate your stress level. It also has smart notifications and a built-in rep counter and relaxation-based breathing timer.

The Misfit Shine 2, Ray, and Flare are sleek activity monitors you can wear on a wristband or necklace. They are purely mobile-compatible via Bluetooth.

  • Sleep Recording: These models have automatic sleep detection.
  • Wearing it for Sleep: They suggest wearing these with the wristband to track sleep
  • Alarms: The Shine 2 and Ray have a vibrating alarm and reminders to move, while the Flare does not.
  • Sleep Data: You see a graph and totals of restful sleep, light sleep, and time awake.
  • Other Data: Steps, calories burned, distance, automatic and on-demand exercise period recording with step totals and intensity ranking.

Azumio Sleep Time App

Sleep Time App by Azumio
Sleep Time App by Azumio. Azumio Screen Capture by Wendy Bumgardner

The Sleep Time app integrates with the Argus activity monitor app and Azumio's Instant Heart Rate app, allowing you to use the combination for activity, exercise, and sleep monitoring. It has many great features. It is compatible with both iOS and Android.

  • Sleep Recording: Start the app and place your phone face down on the bed. When you get up, stop the app.
  • Alarms: You set your alarm time and sleep time monitors you for the 30 minutes before that time to find the best time to wake you gently. It has a snooze feature, just pick up your phone to get more snooze time. You can choose from over a dozen alarms or from your playlist, and you can add vibration
  • Soundscapes: Do you want to fall asleep to the sounds of gentle waves, the rainforest or something from your playlist? Just set this when you start your sleep cycle. It comes with four soundscapes.
  • Sleep Data: It tracks time in bed, sleep duration, sleep efficiency, time awake, light sleep, deep and REM sleep. You can see daily, weekly and monthly graphs. The daily graph also transfers to the Argus activity app as a handy quick-glance icon.
  • Sharing: You can share your sleep graph to Facebook or Twitter.
  • Publisher's Site

Withings Pulse O2 Pedometer

The Withings Pulse syncs only with mobile devices, both Android and iOS, although you can view your data online as well. It tracks steps, distance, calories burned, sleep quality and has a pulse reader.

  • Sleep Recording: You scroll to the heart/moon screen and press the moon for a second to start sleep recording. In the morning, you press the button twice to stop and return to day mode.
  • Wearing it for Sleep: The Pulse comes with a wristband to slip the sensor into for sleep tracking.
  • Alarms: It has no alarms.
  • Sleep Data: On the mobile app, the detail screen for each day shows total time in bed, time to fall asleep, number of awakenings, time in light sleep, time in deep sleep, and total time asleep. The color-coded graph shows light sleep vs. deep sleep vs. awake times each half hour. You can review past days and it gives you a seven-day analysis. On the website, you can review weeks in detail for both sleep and activity.
  • Other Data: Steps, distance, activity calories burned, elevation gained, and you can take your pulse with the LED pulse reader. It will also sync data with the Withings Wi-Fi Scale for weight readings, the Withings blood pressure machine, and the MyFitnessPal app for diet tracking.
  • Computer Requirement: No computer needed, but you need an iOS or Android mobile device to use the Withings Health Mate app to view the sleep quality data. The sensor transmits the data via Bluetooth only to a mobile device. You can use any computer to view your data on the Withings website in full detail.
  • Nokia has bought Withings and this model may be discontinued.


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