Most smartwatches and activity trackers will measure your sleep too – even the Apple Watch, the last big holdout, will soon add support in watchOS 7 – but for those truly committed to dozing off a dedicated sleep tracker might be a worthwhile investment.
Beyond more advanced and reliable sleep tracking, a dedicated tracker like the Withings Sleep Analyzer saves you from wearing anything uncomfortable while you sleep, avoids the risk of a battery running out mid-nap, and can assess the risk of health conditions like sleep apnea.
But is all that enough to justify dropping a chunk of cash on a piece of tech you won’t even use while you’re awake?
Design and build
The Withings Sleep Analyzer looks like a simple grey mat. You slide it under your mattress horizontally, so that it lies perpendicular to your body, under the centre of your chest – or as close as you can get.
It’s just the right size to fit under one, but you’ll need a second if you share a bed with a partner who also wants to track their sleep. Withings says that having a second person in bed shouldn’t interfere with tracking, but as someone who tested this during a long-distance relationship I’m afraid I couldn’t possibly confirm.
The design is utterly tasteful, coated in a simple grey fabric finish that looks both modern and comfortable. That is also mostly irrelevant, because once this is tucked under the mattress the only thing you’ll see anyway is the power cord – long enough to to stretch as far as you need it to reach a power source.
Since the whole thing sits below the mattress it also has no impact at all on comfort – which may be a relief to anyone who struggles sleeping with a wrist tracker on. Since it connects to the mains there’s also no worries about battery or charging it up before bed – short of a power cut you can be fairly confident it’ll keep tracking all night.
There is an initial setup process which involves calibrating the tracker and takes 15 minutes or so, so don’t try and set this up the first time right before bed. Once that’s out of the way it’s pretty painless to use: you go to sleep, and you wake up to find the results in the morning. That’s about it.
Tracking and performance
The Sleep Analyzer tracks a few things at once. Like most sleep trackers, at the basic level it tracks your movement to determine when you’re asleep or awake, and how deep your sleep at any given time is.
It uses this and its other metrics to generate a sleep score out of 100, with sub-categories to do with duration, depth, number of interruptions, how long you took to fall asleep or wake up, and the regularity of your sleep cycle – i.e. whether you’re usually going to sleep at the same time every night.
In addition to that core stuff, the Sleep Analyzer is capable of tracking your heart rate – yup, even from below your mattress – to tell you your sleeping heart rate. You can see this laid out across the night – spotting spikes for bad dreams, for example – and Withings says this is good indicator of your overall cardiovascular health.
A separate section of the report looks out for sleep apnea – moments where your breathing pauses or becomes irregular during sleep. A little apnea can be OK, a lot can be a problem, and the app both tells you how frequent your apneic episodes are, recommends you visit a doctor if they become severe enough, and will help generate a PDF report on your sleep that you can then pass on to medical professionals at that point.
There’s one final tracker that’s as important for your sleep as it is for your partner’s: snoring. A microphone (which you can deactivate from within the app if you prefer) listens out and lets you know how loud and how often you snore, giving you a timeline in the morning. And ladies, I’m proud to report that either my review sample is broken, or I don’t snore at all.
The tracker waits until it thinks you’ve woken up in the morning before it activates its Wi-Fi connection and uploads the data to Withings’ network, and thus in turn down to your app, so you’ll get a notification shortly after you wake up each morning with the last night’s score. Importantly it syncs automatically, so even if you forget to check the app for a while you won’t lose any data, assuming the tracker has remained connected to the Wi-Fi.
It’s hard to assess how accurate the tracking is – I’ve mostly got to take the app at its word of course. I can say that it would sometimes falsely record sleep time while I was actually sitting in bed reading or the like, so it’s fair to say that it’s not faultless – though I have no reason to believe it’s anything other than accurate for the most part.
All of this data is accessed through the Withings Health Mate app – the same you’ll use if you own a Withings watch or smart scale, so your data will also integrate nicely. Your data is laid out cleanly and simply, with each score colour-coded so that you can see what’s good and bad at a glance
You can share your health data with Apple Health, Google Fit, and a variety of other health and fitness apps. Smart home enthusiasts might also appreciate the IFTTT integration, which means if you have the know-how you can set your smart lights to dim when you get into bed, or for your kettle to boil when you wake up.
Price and availability
The Sleep Analyzer costs £119.95/$99.95, and you can buy it direct from Withings or from Amazon.
That’s a similar price to many wrist-based fitness trackers that also offer some sleep tracking, and cheaper than the closest equivalent we’ve tested, the Beautyrest Sleeptracker. Withings’ option offers more advanced tracking too, though the Beautyrest has the advantage of tracking two people with a single tracker.
The Withings Sleep Analyzer will likely appeal to two groups: those looking for a dedicated device to monitor their sleep apnea or snoring; or those who want regular sleep tracking but don’t want the hassle of sleeping with a smartwatch.
If you’re in either group then the Withings is such a solid, reliable, and well-made bit of kit that it’s hard not to recommend – though anyone who only needs basic tracking and doesn’t mind wearables will find the benefits limited and the price hard to justify.
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