Favorite sleep/recovery trackers? Do they work?

What are everyone’s thoughts on sleep / recovery trackers? I never can tell if those garmin, apple watch, Fitbit and others are just a gimmick. Have they helped improve your overall fitness/ training? And if so, what trackers do you like best?

Love my polar vantage watch. Tracks everything and has a nice app that breaks it all down for me

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Have a Garmin Fenix 5, previously had a Fitbit, have also spent some time using HRV4Training app. My conclusion (N=1) is:

  • Recovery advisor is pretty hit and miss. Not sure it adds anything that I didn’t already know and sometimes is just plain wrong (like the time it told me I needed 16 hours recovery after a 135 mile gran fondo ride at 24mph…), but might be useful for people who are new to training and haven’t yet got a good feel for how often they need easy days
  • HRV aligns more closely with what I’m feeling, but again doesn’t seem to add anything
  • Sleep quality is interesting but I haven’t quite figured out what to do with the data as it seems very specific to each night and is less useful at the macro level. I already know what I need for a good night’s sleep. I guess it could be useful if you were a bad sleeper and wanted to try and assess the impact of making changes in your sleep routine.
  • Most useful 2 data points for me are the simplest ones - total hours of sleep, and resting HR. Tend to ignore the day to day fluctuations a bit, but looking at the numbers over a few days, or looking at the weekly averages during a training block, is a very good way of spotting when I’m not sleeping enough and/or not recovering enough over a period of time

My Garmin Vivoactive 3 does sleep & resting HR tracking, and it is okay.

On sleep:

  • If I go to sleep pretty shortly after getting into bed, the total sleep hours seems about right. But if I end up binge watching Netflix / Amazon Prime because I can’t fall asleep, the total sleep hours is way off
  • If you nap frequently, it doesn’t count that as “sleep”, so your total sleep time will be consistently off
  • On the sleep breakdown - deep, light, rem, etc. - I have no idea (and no way to figure out) if it is accurate, close to accurate, or just random numbers, so I don’t look at that at all.

On resting HR:

  • Garmin use some algorithm to figure out resting HR number it reports - it isn’t the lowest HR measured - and I haven’t seen anything that explains this algorithm, so that doesn’t give me a whole lot of confidence in the number

My anecdotal perception is that the total sleep and resting HR trends don’t correlate well to how I do on any specific ride. But I also find that my perception of fatigue doesn’t correlate well with performance.

For me, I actually seem to perform best when TrainingPeaks shows me with a TSB between ~ -5 and -30 (yes, negative). When I have a positive TSB - especially for several days, I’m usually pretty flat.

I’ve given up on my Whoop now. It gives a load of information that i don’t think i really use to the maximum effect. The only useful things i look at are the total sleep hours, but i almost never have trouble sleeping my 7.5 hours a night so it’s redundant there. Also the recovery score doesn’t really tell me anything i can’t tell from my own perception. Same with the day strain scores: i can tell what’s i’ve been doing from Strava/Garmin/TR and something like mowing the lawn adds random strain that i couldn’t really care less about.

Dunno, just got bored with having it on my arm now. 2 days later and i don’t miss it at all.

I’m with @cartsman on Garmin Recovery Advisor: it’s generally useless for me. I go do a high-intensity run intervals set, it thinks it was easy (probably because the average HR wasn’t very high, and it wasn’t very long), and says I can go again the same day; I did an hour tempo/threshold ride yesterday, it recommended I rest 40 hours.

As for sleep tracking, I just use common sense and my perceptions. Works fine.

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A couple years ago i got an Oura Ring for fitness and sleep tracking. Though I never wore it during any intense fitness activities, it’s nice to see your sleep cycles, resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and how long i sit at a desk. I used the ring and free app for about 8 months before I decided it wasn’t worth the inconvenience. I wasn’t training more than 5-6 hours a week when I used it, so I never had built up much physical fatigue. BUT the data did teach me a lot about good sleeping habits that are talked about on the podcast. It’s shocking to see how long your heart rate stays elevated if you eat or drink before bed and how you can go a whole 7-8 hours without a deep sleep cycle.
I think they’re worth it, but only for analyzing your sleep. The readiness scoring seems to be a little generalized and might rely on months of data to adapt to you.

DCRainMaker pretty much debunked Whoop due to its poor accuracy. Maybe some potential if the sensor were accurate.

I track my sleep two ways - one using my Suunto watch and another via the Sleep Cycle app on the phone. Like others have said, it’s usually total hours of sleep that tells a useful story over time. For me, multiple days less than six hours of sleep equates to difficult workouts and injury. My watch is older so it doesn’t give HRV or RHR. I can see how those would be valuable.

Has anyone tried the under-mattress devices? I’m skeptical of the claims of detecting heartbeat with my wife and dogs in bed. I’m not trustable with a watch, I guarantee I’ll bash the glass on something within a week and I don’t really care for the time on wrist.

Considering picking up 90$ vivosmart or something to wear overnight night in lieu of another 18 month Whoop card, my sub is up in a month and I’m really only looking to continue to track sleep and daily rhr/Hrv.

I’ve been using HRV4Training. I have to say it’s pretty good and reasonably insightful. Is it telling me stuff I don’t already - not sure, it does help confirm when I really should have a rest day.

The training lab where I’ve done testing has completed some research using it. They proved that two groups saw different training responses; one group adjusted their daily intensity based on the HRV4Training (moving workouts around, not changing workouts) and the other group just plugged away at their plan without adjusting for HRV/recovery scores. The group that adjusted their schedule progressed more from their training.

This tells me it’s worth persevering with. The app is paid, and just takes a reading using the camera on your phone each morning- pretty easy.

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