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How did you sleep last night?
How do you know?
Fitbit sleep trackers are a modern way of finding out how you slept and why – and of using bio-data to improve the quantity and quality of your sleep, to help you live a healthier life.
Finding the best Fitbit for sleep tracking depends on your approach to owning and wearing a Fitbit in the first place.
There are two ways to go about it.
You can either look for a dedicated Fitbit sleep and health tracker, which will focus on the issues you want, or you can look for a Fitbit smartwatch, which includes sleep tracking but includes lots of other cool functionality too.
But how can you be sure you’ve picked the best Fitbit for tracking sleep? The one that’s right for you?
Settle in and get comfortable. The best Fitbits for tracking sleep are right here.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
In a hurry?
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Best Fitbit For Tracking Sleep - Comparison Table
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Best Fitbit For Tracking Sleep - Reviews
The Versa 2 is an example of a smartwatch that puts sleep tracking front and center of its skillset.
The information it records is relatively accurate. You can verify it by observation. If you know you were sitting up reading the latest blockbuster for an hour before falling asleep, and then check what the Versa 2 says about that time, it’ll tell you ‘You were awake but sedentary.’
If you get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and then check its data on that time, it’ll tell you you were up and about. When you wake up in the morning, it’ll record your change from a sleeping to a waking mode.
So it’s likely to be telling you as close to the truth as possible about your sleep pattern. Is that all that recommends it as a sleep tracker?
Not really – the issue with some sleep trackers is that they collect data and then, for instance, have a narrow, cramped or busy display screen on which to present you their data. The Versa 2 has a broad screen on which to display the data it collected on you last night, so you can see at a glance what kind of night you really had.
Using the Fitbit app though, the Versa 2 can expand on that data and give you graphs, and, for that extra touch of data-usefulness, it’ll compare your sleep data to your demographic. That can give you a heads-up that something’s less than perfect in Dreamland, and arm you with the information you need to take steps.
All of this comes in what is probably the best multifunctional smartwatch Fitbit has produced so far, including Alexa, to give you voice control over your schedule both day and night.
The Versa 2 is a smartwatch with sleep tracking to the front of its functions, and our top pick for the best Fitbit for sleep tracking.
A dedicated, non-smartwatch fitness and/or sleep-tracker band can help you cut to the chase in terms of data focus, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re probably looking for the Charge 3.
The Charge 3 can unlock ‘Fitbit Sleep Stages.’
What’s Fitbit Sleep Stages when you’re thinking about paying money for it?
It’s a system of measurement of the stages and quality of your sleep that can give you information on which to base your ongoing life decisions – how long you’re in light sleep, deep sleep and REM sleep, for instance, how you compare to other people in your demographic/s, and the average quality of your night’s sleep over the last 30 days.
In addition, the Charge 3, like the Versa 2, includes a blood oxygen sensor, which can highlight the presence of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea’s a common but potentially increasingly dangerous condition of interrupted breathing during sleep.
While the Charge 3 itself has a narrow band of screen which makes it an unfriendly provider of at-a-glance data, it also comes with the Fitbit app which allows for full-on data-crunching and display in graphic formats, so you can make appropriate plans to amend your lifestyle and get more effective sleep.
The Charge 3 comes relatively free of all the smartwatch bells and whistles, but focuses on the serious provision of useable data. If you’re looking for a dedicated Fitbit for sleep tracking, the Charge 3 stands ahead of the pack.
By the time we come to the Inspire HR, we’re starting to think about things other than the purity of the sleep data and the way it’s presented.
We’re looking at comfort, and we’re looking at price as well as the accuracy of the sleep data and how convenient it is to read.
The price difference between the Inspire and the Charge 3 is negligible (though both are significantly cheaper as dedicated fitness and sleep trackers than the Versa 2 smartwatch). The difference in performance as a sleep tracker is similarly slim when compared to the Charge 3 – you still get useful data, and the band itself is still too small to present it in a meaningful way, so the data is translated to the Fitbit app for processing into useful graphs. But whereas the Versa 2 and the Charge 3 come with the blood oxygen monitoring function which can reveal sleep apnea, the Inspire HR leaves it out, either for pricing reasons or to improve the comfort factor of the tracker.
Losing the blood oxygen monitoring function of the Charge 3 feels like losing an important piece of diagnostic data when the price differential between the Inspire HR and the Charge 3 is comparatively small.
There are of course other elements in the make-up of both Fitbits that will act as deciding factors for many people – the Inspire HR also lacks things like swim tracking, but on the other hand, if you’re pushing your aerobic exercise, the Inspire HR comes into its own, its heart monitor in particular being the peg on which it hangs its hat. That can also be useful for those with heart conditions who need to monitor particular spikes in their heart rate.
But in terms of the best Fitbit for sleep tracking, the Inspire HR lacks a couple of features that the Charge 3 has, which is why it lags behind it in our list.
The Alta HR was the first Fitbit to cohesively add heart rate monitoring to the suite of data used to determine what kind of night you had. Technically, it’s been superseded by the Inspire HR, but people are still buying the Alta HR in their droves, for a number of important reasons.
Firstly, it has a classic Fitbit look, and is relatively easy to wear and almost forget about. It’s not as light as some that have followed it onto the market, but it also lacks both the self-conscious clunkiness of the smartwatch or the health-related SOS bracelet feel of some of the in-between models. It has a look and a feel which explains why Fitbit came to dominate the health band market in the first place. That in turn means it’s easy to wear all night long, while it gathers reliable sleep data on you.
Reliability’s a big thing in the Alta HR’s favor – it’s actually the entry-level Fitbit for reasonably accurate sleep tracking, because everything before it was largely based on accelerometry (recording how much you move about in the night), which was a relatively poor judge of sleep state.
You remember Fitbit Sleep Stages from the Charge 3? It might surprise you, but it’s included on the Alta HR, along with Sleep Insights. Sleep Insights is a kind of data hub into which all your fitness and health data is sucked and combined to give you meaningful suggestions on improving both your overall health and specifically your sleep.
The Alta HR doesn’t come with the blood oxygen sensor and so while it’s good enough to give you indications of how you slept and, through Sleep Insights, things you do on or before nights when you get better sleep, there feels like quite a slide towards fortune cookie wisdom in the Alta HR, compared with the likes of the Versa 2.
That’s unfair – there’s plenty of hardcore science behind the Alta HR, and Fitbit spent some time at Johns Hopkins figuring out how to take a meaningful step towards the development of accurate sleep monitoring in the Alta HR.
That means there’s been a shift in who the Alta HR is aimed at. When it was launched, it was aimed at the must-have crowd, those thirsty for data about every aspect of their health and sleep, because it represented the leap out of accelerometry to actual heart monitoring.
Now the data-thirsty crowd wear the Versa 2. But the Alta HR still has a vibrant buyer-base – people who just need a steer, rather than absolute data-powered fitness-junkies.
There are lots of people like that – people who need a health and sleep tracker but who need one in a more general sense. If ‘Take the first right, the second left and it’s the blue building on your right’ would be good enough for you when asking directions, rather than getting the precise GPS co-ordinates and step-by-step instructions to get to them, the Alta HR might well be the Fitbit sleep tracker for you.
If all you need is an idea of whether you slept OK, what might help you to sleep better, and whether your heart is doing the Macarena while you’re partying in dreamland, the Alta HR is a simple, straightforward friend to you, with good looks and an easy place on your wrist. Sure, it has less up-to-date science in its data collection than some – but it’ll still get you the information you need to know, and it’ll still give you access to an app which helps explain that information clearly. If you don’t need more than that, you’ve found your best Fitbit for sleep tracking.
When it was launched, the Ionic was a flagship Fitbit, bringing lots of the newest, most up-to-date gizmos, algorithms and programs with it – the blood oxygen sensor that made a big difference to the top of our list first saw the light of day here, and Sleep Insights and Sleep Stages both were part of the Ionic’s sensational package.
It also tightened up Fitbit’s sleep tracking algorithm and powered it with a battery that was powerful enough to go all night and then go some more, letting it power the Ionic’s sleep tracker.
It’s still a pretty great Fitbit for sleep tracking, but where it loses most of its points is in what feels like a slightly confused goal. It looks like a smartwatch, but doesn’t deliver as many of the smartwatch features as you’d expect, or as many as the Versa 2 does. So it ends up looking like a smartwatch, and costing a price more like a smartwatch, but performing more like a standard Fitbit health and sleep tracker with a couple of bells on.
Heart monitoring, fitness monitoring, sleep monitoring and blood oxygen monitoring to detect sleep apnea are all present and correct in the Ionic – as we say, it’s a great Fitbit for sleep tracking.
But it’s also reaching for some additional smartwatch functionality and not quite hitting it, which makes it feel less successful overall than Fitbits which are technically less advanced, but which deliver on the promises they make.
Bottom line – the Ionic is a great Fitbit for sleep tracking. It’s just not necessarily a great smartwatch too, despite looking like it should be.
Best Fitbit For Tracking Sleep - Buyers Guide
Before you buy a Fitbit for sleep tracking, consider a few points and save yourself some money.
What Kind Of Fitbitter Are You?
Are you looking for a dedicated health and sleep tracker? A smartwatch with good sleep tracking? Are you a data-freak who needs the very latest sensor input, or will indicative data get you motivated to improve your sleep routine? Ask yourselves these questions, because Fitbit has a great sleep tracker for each of you, but you need to know what you really want before you can choose the right one.
What Makes A Sleep Tracker Wearable To You?
Sounds like the last question again? No no, that was about the functions you want it to have. This question is about what you feel comfortable wearing day and night. Are you more comfortable with a heavier smartwatch because you’ve worn watches before and are used to them? Or would a more lightweight, less obtrusive tracker persuade you to keep it on all night so it could gather its data? Remember, the point is to keep it on to get reliable data. Where’s your comfort zone?
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why should I get a Fitbit sleep tracker?
The company’s been in this business longer than any other company. It’s spent the money doing the scientific research to put its sleep trackers ahead of the game. It’s more or less become an accepted collective name for all fitness and sleep trackers everywhere. And more than that, it’s done the research to create a broad range of trackers to appeal – and to serve – every kind of potential user. Find the right one for you, and you’ll never regret getting a Fitbit sleep tracker.
2. Which is the better option for a Fitbit sleep tracker? A smartwatch or a dedicated sleep tracker?
Ultimately the answer to this depends on how much you want to be able to do on one device. If you’re going to want a smartwatch as well as a sleep tracker, always go for the combined device, because if you go for the Versa 2, you get a solid, accurate sleep tracker as well as most of the other things you want your smartwatch to do. If most of the things a smartwatch does are also done by your phone and you want a lightweight, wearable sleep tracker, go for the dedicated band-style, like the Charge 3.