Sleep Tracking Without a Wearable

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: July 9, 2021   |  Updated: April 18, 2023

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The Problem to be Solved

How to Monitor Sleep

How to Monitor Sleep

There is a lot written about how important it is to get a good night’s sleep. But how do we measure our sleep in the first place, so we can monitor whether it is “good”, and whether any things we do to improve it actually make a difference?

Solution Details


I wanted a way to track sleep without having to use a “wearable”, because I thought that would be preferable for the “loved one” I was researching this for. Here is the solution I evaluated.

Sleep trackers can be useful for family members wishing to track changes in their loved one’s sleep patterns due to changes in diet or medication.

While there are ways to track your sleep using “wearables”, such as a band or a watch, I chose to review and test non-wearable devices for doing the same. My reasoning is that your loved one may find a wearable annoying, especially at night.


Sleep-tracking Products

There are several devices available that do not make the bed feel uncomfortable. I tested three of them.

Two of them, namely Beautyrest Sleeptracker and Withings Sleep, use sensor pads placed between the mattress and box spring so that they are undetectable while in bed. These are totally different than the hospital-type pads used to detect out-of-bed events that are placed directly under a sheet.

The third one I tested, Tochtech Sleepsense, is also undetectable as the sensor is placed under a bed post.

All of these devices can not only record in-bed and out-of-bed times, but also sleep levels such as REM, LIGHT, DEEP, and AWAKE. They can also track heart rate and breathing rate. None of these devices require a paid subscription.

I found all three of these products worked well. However, the Tochtech product had some extra features which I found useful (especially “out-of-bed” notifications, see below).

  • You can see the products you need to implement this solution in the Smart Bedroom Kit List (with links to each of the three vendors mentioned here).
  • View the Tochtech Sleepsense product in the Tech-enhanced Life database (discount available for Tech-enhanced Life readers).



In the picture below, you can see the Tochtech Sleepsense “out of the package” and “installed”.

Caption: L. Tochtech Sleepsense after unpacking. R: Under the leg of the bed.


Caption: Sample reports from the three sleep tracker products


Typical reports within the vendor’s app

Each of these systems provide a daily report within the app as well as weekly and monthly reports so that you can track changes and trends.

Both the Withings Sleep and the Tochtech Sleepsense can report in-bed and out-bed real-time events to the IFTTT cloud service (“If This Then That” service: See Kit List), for use by your smart home system. I use the In-Bed IFTTT event to check the door locks as seen in the section below on door locks.

In addition, Tochtech Sleepsense also provide several real-time notifications to the family caregivers smart phone as shown below:


Caption: Tochtech Sleepsense real time monitoring settings


While Beautyrest Sleeptracker and Withings Sleep were designed for consumer home use, Tochtech Sleepsense was designed for use either by consumers or in residential facilities, and as a result, also provides real-time tracking capabilities as shown in the above notification’s settings.

Of these notifications, the “Not returning to bed” can be very important as it can be used if you are worried about a loved one’s nocturnal wandering. You are able to set the event duration, so that you will not be bothered by getting a notification on each out-of-bed event.


Google Nest Hub

I also reviewed the Google Nest Hub gen 2 as a non-wearable sleep sensor as it offered a way to monitor sleep without a mat or anything attached to the bed. It is all contained in a bedside clock device looking very similar to an Amazon Echo Show 5

It does this by emitting radio waves and tracking changes in sleep patterns. It did create accurate reports when viewed on the device as compared to the other sleep sensors I tested as seen below:



However, the information presented to a remote family caregiver through the app was very minimal as seen below.



Learn More

See also Smart Bedroom features for Older Adults.



*Disclosure: The research and opinions in this article are those of the author, and may or may not reflect the official views of Tech-enhanced Life.

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