That’s the question the makers of devices such as the Beddit Smart Sleep Monitor ($149) must answer if they want consumers to buy their trackers. I’ve used several different devices to track sleep, including Beddit. If you have chronic sleep issues and want to quantify your nocturnal tossing-and-turnings, or perhaps share the data with a doctor and better understand how poorly or how well you sleep, then yes, tracking sleep is a good idea.
Beddit needs no wearable
Beddit is worth consideration because unlike, say, a Fitbit or Jawbone device, you don’t have to wear anything to bed to track your sleep. Beddit is a long sensor strip with adhesive that keeps it in place on top of your mattress but beneath the fitted mattress sheet. It’s barely noticeable when you sleep on top of it. The strip plugs into a wall socket for power, and it connects to your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth.
Beddit auto tracking
Beddit’s Smart Sleep Monitor automatically tracks your sleep; there are no buttons to push on a wearable or in a companion smartphone app to start the process. The fewer things you have to do to manage your sleep tracking before bed, the better.
When you wake, you see a sleep score between 0 and 100 in the Beddit app.
The score takes a number of factors into account, including:
If you took a long time to fall asleep and if so, how long;
Your resting average heart rate, as well as its lowest and highest points;
If you snored and if so, for how long;
Your sleep efficiency (the portion of time in bed you spent actually sleeping);
How many times you got out of bed and for how long;
How many times you were awake and for how long;
Total sleep time.
During my tests, I had two restless nights, and Beddit confirmed this with sleep scores of 61 and 71. (My best score so far has been 81.)
Beddit’s (mostly) obvious insights
The Beddit app provides tips and contextual insight to help make sense of the data, but some are too obvious to be useful: “Choose a mattress that supports your body and isn’t too soft or too hard,” for example.
During one of my tests, Beddit didn’t accurately capture all my time asleep in bed. On one of those restless nights, Beddit said I was out of bed for a total of three hours and 42 minutes, with a big gap in my sleep chart between about 1:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. If I didn’t know better, I might assume I spent those hours sleepwalking through the streets of San Francisco. My Fitbit app, in comparison, says I was only up for about 31 minutes that night. (I wore a Fitbit Charge HR to sleep every night to compare its data to Beddit’s.)
Not recommended for roadwarriors
If you travel often and want to track sleep wherever you roam, Beddit isn’t the device for you. It would be too easy to forget you placed it under a hotel’s mattress sheet, for one thing. If you’re on the go a lot, a wearable tracker makes more sense.
Beddit’s other benefits
Beddit shares its data with Apple’s Health app, and its iOS app has an Apple Watch extension that lets you review sleep data. It also has a vibrating alarm that can wake you when you’re most likely to be sleeping lightly. And the device and app are easy to setup and use.
Sleep tracking isn’t for everyone, but if you want more insight into your snoozes, Beddit is an easy way to get it.
James A. Martin is a seasoned tech journalist and blogger based in San Francisco and winner of the 2014 ASBPE National Gold award for his CIO.com blog. He writes CIO.com's Living the Tech Life blog and is also a content marketing consultant.