What’s the Best Sleep Debt Tracking App? The RISE App

RISE is the best sleep debt tracker app as it accurately tracks sleep debt and gives you personalized guidance on how to lower it for more energy.
Published
2024-04-02
14 MINS
Written by
Jeff Kahn, M.S., Rise Science Co-Founder
Reviewed by
Chester Wu, MD, Rise Science Medical Reviewer
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Best Sleep Debt Tracker: The RISE App

  • Only RISE tracks sleep debt against your unique sleep need to give you an accurate number and places it front and center in the app as the sleep metric to focus on.
  • RISE also gives you personalized guidance to help you lower your sleep debt, so you can get more energy and be more productive each day — probably the reason you want to track sleep debt to begin with.
  • Beyond sleep debt, RISE tracks your circadian rhythm, or body clock. Experts agree how in sync you are with it is the other key metric that has the biggest impact on how you feel each day. You’ll get personalized guidance here, too, on how to sync up and boost your energy levels.
  • Other sleep debt tracking apps include Whoop, Sleepzy, and AutoSleep. But they don’t accurately track sleep debt, isolate it as a metric to focus on, or help you lower it directly.

Sleep debt (the amount of sleep you owe your body) is the key metric to track if you want more energy, so choosing the best sleep debt tracker app is vital. But it’s hard to know what you should be looking for in an app. 

To decide, look for a sleep debt tracker that accurately measures sleep debt against how much sleep you personally need — not generic guidelines or self-set goals — and one that gives you personalized advice on how to lower your sleep debt to get more energy. 

Enter, RISE. RISE calculates how much sleep you need, works out and tracks your daily sleep debt against this, and gives you personalized and actionable steps to take to lower your sleep debt and keep it low. 

Below, we’ll cover more sleep debt tracking apps to help you decide. 

Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Best Sleep Debt Tracker App for You  

Here’s what to look out for when choosing the best sleep tracker that tracks sleep debt: 

  • Does the app track sleep debt? This one sounds obvious, but many sleep tracking apps (like Sleep Cycle, Pillow, and ShutEye) track your sleep duration, the quality of your sleep, or time spent in sleep stages, without working out your sleep debt. Look for an app that tracks sleep debt and shares that number clearly.
  • Does the app accurately track sleep debt? Sleep debt is compared against how much sleep you need, but this number isn’t the same for everyone. Some apps work out your sleep debt by comparing your sleep time to generic sleep guidelines, which can be incorrect and misleading. Others ask you to set your own sleep goal, but most of us don’t know how much sleep we need. Look for an app that works out how much sleep you need individually using a science-based calculation. 
  • Does the app help you lower sleep debt? Just knowing your sleep debt number isn’t that useful, and it’s not always easy to catch up on sleep to lower it. Look for an app that gives you guidance (ideally personalized to you) on lowering sleep debt for more daily energy.
  • Does the app come with any other useful features? Alongside tracking sleep debt, you may want an app that has other features to lower your sleep debt and improve your energy. That could include sleep sounds, a smart alarm clock, and recommended sleep and wake times. One key feature to look out for is circadian rhythm tracking. Sleep researchers agree that sleep debt and circadian alignment (how in sync you are with your circadian rhythm) are the two biggest factors affecting how you feel each day.
  • How much does the app cost? Compare costs and whether you need to pay extra for a wearable device to make the app work. 
  • Does the app have good reviews? Look for customer reviews on lowering sleep debt specifically. Ratings, awards, and recognitions can also help you find a reputable app.
  • Does the app come with a wearable device? If so, is it comfortable and easy to use? Some sleep debt trackers require you to sleep with a wearable device. If so, think about whether this wearable is affordable, comfortable, and easy to use, and whether you want another gadget to buy, charge, and look after.

The Best Sleep Debt Tracking Apps 

RISE, Whoop, Sleepzy, and AutoSleep track your sleep debt. Here’s more on how these four sleep debt trackers work and the pros and cons of each.

Features RISE Whoop Sleepzy AutoSleep
Works out your unique sleep need ✔️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Tracks sleep debt against your unique sleep need ✔️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Features and personalized guidance to lower sleep debt ✔️ ✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Price $69.99 a year, which is $5.83 a month $239 a year + some straps cost $49 to $99 $9.99/three months $39.99 a year $7.99 one-off payment
Free trial period Seven days One month Seven days ✖️

RISE

RISE places sleep debt front and center, giving you one number to focus on. You can view your sleep debt in the phone app, on your iPad, on a widget on your iPhone home screen, or on your Apple Watch (if you have one, you don’t need a wearable to use RISE). 

You’ll also get an Energy Potential score on a scale of zero to 100 that’s directly tied to your sleep debt. Lower your sleep debt to get more energy — this is probably why you want to track sleep debt to begin with. 

RISE gives you personalized guidance to help you lower sleep debt and keep it low, including recommended sleep and wake times, based on your own biology, to help you get enough sleep and keep a regular sleep schedule. This is something 2023 National Sleep Foundation guidelines recommend and research shows can boost your energy. 

We’ve also found RISE users with consistent sleep schedules have lower sleep debt than those without a consistent sleep schedule.

Pros: 

  • Accurately tracks sleep debt against a scientifically calculated sleep need (the amount of sleep you need based on genetics). 
  • You get one clear sleep debt number — no confusing graphs or lengthy sleep analysis to wade through.
  • Gives you personalized guidance to lower sleep debt and keep it low for more energy. 
  • Tracks sleep debt over 14 nights. There’s less pressure on single nights of sleep and this is a more accurate reflection of the science of acute sleep debt and how it affects your energy. That is, even if you got enough sleep last night, lingering sleep debt can still make you feel tired today.
  • You can track sleep debt via your phone use, movement with your phone on your mattress, or with a wearable.
  • Helps you improve another key metric tied to feeling and performing better: circadian alignment. 

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t include sound recording for snore detection, but you can sync it with another app or device that does, either directly or through Apple HealthKit. 
  • Doesn’t track metrics like heart rate or activity, but you can pair it with a wearable that does. 
  • Doesn’t give you a sleep quality score or track time spent in sleep stages, but these are often inaccurate and arbitrary anyway.

Price: RISE costs $69.99 a year, which is $5.83 a month. There’s a one-week free trial. During the free trial, you’ll find out your sleep need, how much sleep debt you have, and see a daily prediction of your circadian rhythm.

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How Does RISE Track Sleep Debt? 

First, RISE works out how much sleep you need. This is known as your sleep need and it’s unique to you. 

The app uses sleep science based algorithms and a year’s worth of phone use data to do this.

The RISE app can tell you how much sleep you need
The hours of sleep RISE users need. We found among 1.95 million RISE users aged 24 and over, sleep needs ranged from five hours to 11 hours 30 minutes.

Then, RISE then tracks how much sleep you get over 14 nights. 

You can track sleep through: 

  • Tappigraphy (when you touch your phone): Sleep normally with your phone on your bedside table, no need to manually start sleep tracking.
  • Mattress-based actigraphy: Using the accelerometer in your phone. Sleep with your phone on your mattress.
  • A wearable device: Pulling sleep data from Apple Watch, Oura Ring, Garmin, or Fitbit to inform your sleep debt number. RISE can also use data from devices like an Eight Sleep mattress by pulling data from Apple HealthKit. 

You can add in any naps you take for a more accurate sleep debt number. 

When calculating sleep debt, RISE’s algorithm places more weight (15%) on last night’s sleep as this is the night that makes the biggest difference to how you feel today. The remaining 85% is based on the 13 previous nights, with more recent nights having more weight. 

You’ll get one clear sleep debt number you can check each morning.

RISE app screenshot showing how much sleep debt you have
The RISE app accurately tracks sleep debt.

We cover more on the best non-wearable sleep trackers here, including why apps can be great at tracking sleep. 

How Does RISE Help You Lower Your Sleep Debt?

Tracking sleep debt is only useful if the app you’re using helps you do something about it. 

Here’s how RISE helps you lower your sleep debt and keep it low: 

  • Suggested bedtime: Like personalized sleep coaching, you’ll get a suggested bedtime based on your sleep need, sleep debt, and desired wake time. This will slowly shift earlier to help you pay back sleep debt. 
  • Gentle smart alarm: RISE’s alarm tells you whether your wake time will add to sleep debt as you’re setting the alarm. If possible, wake up a little later to get more sleep and avoid adding to your sleep debt (or head to bed earlier tomorrow).
  • A visualization of your circadian rhythm: This will show you when your energy levels are expected to rise and fall across the day. You can then plan the best time to take a nap to pay back some sleep debt.
  • 20+ sleep hygiene reminders: You’ll get notified when to do 20+ good sleep habits at the best time for your body clock. These habits are scientifically proven to help you get a good night’s sleep. You’ll fall asleep faster and wake up less often, helping you pay back sleep debt with more efficient sleep and keep sleep debt low. 
  • Guided breathing and relaxation exercises: These will help you unwind, soothe anxiety, and drift off faster. 

We found, on average, RISE users who pay back sleep debt reduce it by more than four hours in their first two weeks of using the app. 

And in a study lasting almost 600 days conducted by Rise Science founders (Jeff Kahn and Leon Sasson) and the University of Washington, regular RISE users had 3.5 hours less sleep debt compared to less regular users. They got more sleep and had more regular bedtimes, too.

RISE users' sleep needs
RISE users have less sleep debt.

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can view their sleep need here and view their sleep debt here.

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Whoop 

Whoop tracks your sleep debt against a sleep need that’s semi-personalized to you. It starts with a baseline sleep need of 7.6 hours, an average pulled from age and gender-based sleep needs. This sleep need then increases if you’ve had a high-strain day (like when you’ve done a tough workout).

Rather than isolating sleep debt as a metric to focus on, Whoop bundles this into your target sleep need for the night, increasing if you have sleep debt to pay back and decreasing if you’ve taken a nap.

You’ll also get a sleep score, but this is based on several metrics, including sleep debt and sleep quality. 

Pros: 

  • Sleep debt is measured against a semi-personalized sleep need measurement, making it a little more accurate than the sleep debt trackers below (but not RISE).
  • You can reduce your sleep need goal, which may be useful if you’re in a time of life when getting enough sleep is hard (say you’re a new parent).
  • Tracks health metrics like workouts, heart rate, blood oxygen, and temperature, if you’re interested. Blood oxygen tracking can be useful to check for sleep problems like sleep apnea, but don’t rely on a wearable or app for this. Speak with a doctor. 

Cons: 

  • Baseline sleep need is based on generic sleep guidelines.
  • You have to wear (and remember to charge) a strap to get sleep debt tracking. 
  • There’s not much personalized guidance on how to lower your sleep debt. 
  • There’s no flexibility on when it’s advised you pay back sleep debt. You’ll get an increased sleep need that night, which can be stressful if you can’t get any extra sleep.

Price: The yearly subscription is $239. The basic strap is free, but other colors cost $49 to $99. There’s a one-month free trial.

We compare Whoop vs RISE sleep app in more detail here. 

Sleepzy 

Sleepzy tracks your sleep debt, but it’s measured against a sleep goal you set yourself. Most of us don’t know how much sleep we need — it might not be eight hours! So this means Sleepzy’s sleep debt tracking is unlikely to be accurate and therefore helpful. 

Pros: 

  • Breathing exercises, relaxing sounds, and classical music to fall asleep with.
  • Sleep recordings of sound to find out if you snore or talk in your sleep.

Cons:

  • Sleep debt is measured against a self-set sleep goal, not your individual sleep need.
  • There’s not much personalized guidance to help you lower sleep debt to get more energy. 

Price: $9.99/three months or a one-year subscription is $39.99 (at time of writing). There’s a seven-day free trial. 

AutoSleep 

The AutoSleep app offers sleep debt tracking, but again, this is compared to a sleep goal you set yourself. This means the sleep debt figure is very unlikely to be accurate and therefore helpful in your daily life. 

Pros: 

  • Pulls heart rate, temperature, blood oxygen, and respiration rate data from your Apple Watch. 
  • You can sync RISE with AutoSleep if you want accurate sleep debt tracking from RISE with AutoSleep’s additional health tracking features. 

Cons: 

  • Sleep debt is tracked against a self-set sleep goal, not your individual sleep need.
  • You may have to use an Apple Watch to get the most out of the app. 
  • There’s not much personalized guidance on how to sleep better or lower sleep debt.
  • Encourages activities like “banking” extra sleep, which isn’t something most sleep researchers think is possible, as most often it’s just lowering sleep debt.  

Price: $7.99 one-off payment. 

We dive into AutoSleep vs RISE sleep app here. 

Other RISE Features

RISE has additional features to help you lower your sleep debt or stay in sync with your circadian rhythm.

These features include: 

  • A daily prediction of your circadian rhythm and help syncing up your sleep patterns with it. This helps you fall and stay asleep — keeping sleep debt low — and boosts your energy, productivity, and overall health and well-being. You can use these insights to become a morning person, overcome jet lag, and fix your sleep schedule, too. 
  • 20+ sleep hygiene notifications (you can choose which ones you get), based on your own circadian rhythm to help you get better sleep and more of it. 
  • Guided breathing and relaxation exercises to help you wind down and sleep sounds and white noise to help you fall and stay asleep. 
  • Calendar integration, so you can see when your energy will rise and fall across the day and schedule your tasks to match, boosting productivity. You can also see the best time to take a nap, which will help you chip away at sleep debt.
  • A gentle smart alarm that lets you know when you’ll be adding to sleep debt, so you can wake up later and avoid that, if possible.
  • Pairing with a wearable or sleep apps like Sleep Cycle to track more metrics.
RISE app screenshot showing your energy peak and dip times
RISE predicts your circadian rhythm each day.

RISE users on iOS 1.202 and above can see their circadian rhythm on the Energy screen here

Heads-up: RISE doesn’t track your sleep quality or the amount of time spent in sleep stages like deep sleep, light sleep, or REM sleep. You can’t really control how long you spend in each sleep stage and research shows wearables still have a hard time accurately tracking stages of sleep. Sleep quality is usually an arbitrary score based on a company’s own scoring system, so it may not include metrics that make a difference to how you feel or clear advice on how to improve it.  

If you want more energy (who doesn’t?), sleep debt and circadian alignment are the two key metrics to track and improve.

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RISE Cost 

RISE costs $69.99 a year, which is $5.83 a month. You don’t need to buy any additional wearable devices and you’ll get access to all of RISE’s features. There’s also a free seven-day trial. 

During your free trial, you’ll discover your sleep need, how much sleep debt you have, and see a prediction of your circadian rhythm, which will show your ideal bedtime and when your energy is expected to fluctuate each day. 

You can follow RISE’s 20+ healthy sleep hygiene reminders, relaxing sleep content, and suggested sleep and wake times to see how much you can lower your sleep debt — and how much more energy this gives you.

You’ll get email reminders before your free trial ends (including a reminder your trial is about to end) with sleep tips and useful information to help you make the most of the app. Is the RISE app worth it? We make the case here.

RISE Reviews

Here’s what RISE users have to say about how the app helps them lower sleep debt: 

  • “Downloaded this app after seeing an advert. I am amazed at how well it knows my routine and how well it’s planned my day. Say goodbye to sleep debt.Read the review
  • “As someone who’s always struggled to put myself to bed, I’ve found this a really useful guide. I’ve been using RISE for the past year and it’s helped me keep on track, maintaining a consistent bedtime and reducing sleep debt.Read the review.
  • “I discovered Rise over a year ago and since then it’s my daily checkpoint. Before seeing the sleep debt numbers I didn’t understand how exhausted I really was. The biggest difference was when I finally reduced it to 0. It was a journey of several months, but I felt years younger after.Read the review

Beyond RISE users, the app has recognition from big names, too. Sleep Foundation and Sleep Doctor named RISE one of the best sleep apps of 2024. And Apple nominated the app for a design award and named it an Editor’s Choice.

Lower Sleep Debt With RISE for Better Days  

You’re probably interested in tracking your sleep debt because you know lowering it can improve your energy, productivity, and physical and mental health. So, when choosing a sleep tracker app, it’s vital to go for one that tracks sleep debt against an accurate calculation of your sleep need, making it an accurate sleep debt tracker. 

The RISE app works out your unique sleep need and tracks sleep debt over your last 14 nights, giving you one clear accurate number to focus on. It also has features and personalized guidance to help you lower sleep debt and keep it low. 

RISE can track sleep debt through your phone. You can pair it with wearables like Apple Watch, Oura Ring, Garmin, or Fitbit to inform your sleep debt number and track other health metrics, or it can use data from devices like the Eight Sleep mattress.

Start paying back sleep debt this week — 80% of RISE users get more sleep within five days.

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Try 7 days free

The power behind your next best day

RISE makes it easy to improve your sleep and daily energy to reach your potential

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