SleepScore Max hands-on: The best approach to sleep tracking?


Wearables have introduced many people to the idea of sleep tracking and taught us a bit about how to quantify our slumbers, but they typically offer little in the way of improving them. The SleepScore Max, by SleepScore Labs, endeavors to change these norms, first by nixing the need to wear anything, and secondly by creating a personalized ecosystem of products, tips, and information to raise the quality of each users sleep. Sounds enticing, we know, but you're probably curious, and maybe even a bit skeptical on how all this works.


The SleepScore Max takes a two-prong approach to improving sleep: accuracy, and actionable insight. With its contactless design, the SleepScore Max sits at your bedside, using proprietary "bio-motion sensors" to track movement and respiration in a way very similar to echolocation. Though it may look like a little bedside speaker with a small camera, the device instead houses proprietary movement sensors, as well as those to measure temperature and light - no cameras involved.

How It Works

ResMed, the company behind SleepScore Labs, started out with the goal of creating a commercial device to help treat those suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. The company has used its successes and prolonged research in this field to eventually create the SleepScore Max - a commercial sleep tracker. The design and function of which has been more than 10 years in the making, with over 25 years of research in sleep, respiration, and cardiology behind it.

Utilizing the contact-less, echo-location-esque setup, and the algorithms behind it, the SleepScore Max not only recognizes the various stages of sleep and wakefulness, but also analyzes the user's respiration - another key aspect of achieving restful sleep. The efficacy and accuracy of which has been studied in multiple scientific reports, showing SleepScore Lab's method to be around 85% as accurate as a polysomnography (PSG) lab - think tons of electrodes, and a mask to assess breathing - those labs. PSG labs themselves can't achieve 100% accuracy and are generally used to diagnose sleep conditions. The SleepScore Max, though, is not a medical device, but rather uses the data it gathers to quantify your sleep, and then give informed, tailored advice to improve it. Sleep reports can be printed and given to your health care professional for analysis, though. The app may mention warning signs for potential sleep disorders, but it will not, and cannot officially diagnose you.

Companion App

The companion app itself is the second prong in the attack on inadequate rest. Sent to the phone during tracking is a real-time line graph illustrating your movements, however big or small. Sound is also measured by the microphone on your phone, which SleepScore says is not recorded, but rather assesses noise events throughout the night. By analyzing your movements and respirations, the SleepScore Max determines your stages of sleep and wakefulness, breaking them down by time awake, light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep duration. Based on the types of sleep and duration of which you've experienced, the app then calculates your SleepScore, using ResMed's deeply informed algorithms.

Your overall score judges how beneficial your slumber was to both your mind and your body, though separate scores for the two do exist. For instance, achieving sufficient REM will give you a higher mind score, while deep sleep produces more benefits for rejuvenating the body, and thusly gives you a higher body score. One doesn't take away from the other, but rather a full (ideal) night's sleep would hit targets in all categories, giving you that seemingly ever-elusive perfect score.

Actionable Insight

Detailed and accurate sleep tracking is all well and good, but where SleepScore Labs attempts to deliver the most value is in the improvement of user's sleep. The SleepScore Max app asks users to take an initial survey upon setup. This is a six-part questionnaire, which builds a profile on your sleeping habits, goals, and sleep equipment, among other sleep-influencing factors. A smaller, daily survey is administered before bed, as well, asking about your stress levels, sleepiness, alcohol and caffeine consumption, and exercise for the day. Answers to these surveys, as well as the initial one, will help inform the apps daily advice and insights throughout your journey to better sleep.

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For instance, if you report that you've drank alcohol during the day and that night's sleep is lacking in REM compared to your age's average, the app will tell you the next day to reduce alcohol consumption closer to bedtime, as well as provide a link to more in-depth information on the effects of alcohol on sleep. Insights like this run the gamut, from instructions for drinkers, to excercisers, stressers, and screen addicts, all with plenty of information and advice to help you mitigate that which holds you back from a good night's sleep. Of course, the app also takes note of environmental influencers, like light and temperature, tempering its advice with this information when needed.

Equipment Recommendation and Ecosystem

SleepScore Max even goes another step further in the quest for great sleep by recommending certain products to cure the specific ails of your sleep. This can include smart lights, mattresses, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) programs, as well as a varied and ever-expanding list of apps and products. SleepScore Labs has even created a partnership program through which other non-drug, sleep/lifestyle aides may become a part of their curated recommendations - provided they show improvements on subject's sleep in 60 days of SleepScore Lab's testing. This program launched in January and currently features 12 varied products/programs.

Recommendations can start rolling in after about 30 days of tracking with the SleepScore Max, which is also tailored not just to what ails you, but what has worked for others with profiles similar to yours.


The SleepScore Max seems to have all that's required to make you a better sleeper: A deep background of research, scientifically-backed, accurate tracking, actionable insights, proven product recommendations, and a wealth of articles and information.

Contactless tracking certainly has its advantages, especially given that the background in the development of which encompasses research in the areas of sleep, respiratory health, and cardiology. Still, other products like the Dreem headband offer EEG (brainwave) readings along with movement, heart rate, and respiration tracking. Being a headband though, its prowess in respiration tracking may be bested by the SleepScore Max's measurement of chest movement. The Dreem has a trick up its sleeve though, as it's meant not only to track sleep, but influence it in the moment by emitting auditory stimulation to increase deep sleep. In terms of research and scientific studies, the SleepScore Max far out-ranks Dreem, with nearly 30 years of research in various fields, and over 4 million nights of sleep data, compared to the Dreem headbands more recent, startup-esque plight, and only 30,000 nights of sleep data. The Dreem headband also retails for $499 compared to the SleepScore Max's $149.

Of course, tons of trackers of all kinds exist in the market, and wrist-worn trackers may be the most popular, but are also often the least scientific. It appears SleepScore Labs might have the deepest research background, as well as an emphasis on improving sleep, not just tracking it. In our 30 days with the device it's become clear that SleepScore Labs knows their work. We can't say that it improved our sleep in such a short time yet - product recommendations have just started rolling in - but based on the insights and recommendations received so far (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and suggesting a new mattress) we'd say the SleepScore Max is learning properly, and recommending adeptly.

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