We all have days when we wake up feeling refreshed, and others where we feel like we have hardly slept at all. It is never clear what separates the good nights and the bad ones, but you can get valuable insights from a sleep tracker. Your sleeping patterns are monitored to give you a clear picture of your sleep quality. The information helps you optimize your sleep experience.
Unlike lab-based sleep tests that track sleep through brain activity, sleep trackers usually rely on sensors to detect different physical signs, like body movement or heart rate. All the data is uploaded to a device, and afterward, it’s run through an algorithm that analyzes and displays the results. First, we will look at the Apple Watch Sleep Tracking capabilities and how it works.
With the new WatchOS 7 update, it is now possible to track sleep with your Apple Watch. The update works with the Apple Watch Series 3,4,5 and the latest Apple Watch Series 6. Sleep tracking has been a much-needed feature for the Apple Watch. It was previously available, but only on third-party apps.
Currently, there are sleep tracking apps that use motion to detect sleep time. To track sleep, you must wear your Apple Watch. The good thing about it is that you set and forget. So your sleep is tracked without you having to do anything else.
Does The Apple Watch Track Sleep?
With the Sleep app on the Apple Watch, you can create schedules that help track your sleep so you can get the necessary rest your body desperately needs. Apple Watch Sleep Tracking works when users wear the watch to when they go to sleep. The app provides sleep data after a user wakes up and tracks sleep quality over 14 days. One key component to efficiently using the sleep tracking features is to ensure the phone is charged at least 30%.
Conveniently, the phone provides charging reminders to help you ensure the phone does not lose power in the middle of your sleep. The reminders will also notify you when your Apple Watch is fully charged. This feature helps maintain the long-term health of your battery. Overcharging can damage the battery and cause the Apple Watch to last fewer hours on a fully charged battery. Eventually, this may lead to expensive repairs or a complete Apple Watch replacement.
One way to help you maintain the necessary power levels to track your sleep effectively is keeping an extra Apple Watch charger on you during the day to charge your watch when you are not using it. You can also use an old Apple Watch, if you happen to have one, as your exclusive sleep tracking device.
That way, you can charge it during the day and wear it while you sleep during the night. This makes sleep tracking easier, as power management will no longer be a problem. You can charge your other Apple Watch, which you use for daily wear, at your convenience.
The Apple Watch also can create a sleep schedule. This can be beneficial in helping your body adapt to a regular sleep routine. It is also possible to create multiple sleep schedules based on your needs. Options available in setting a sleep schedule include:
- The time you want to get in bed and wake up daily.
- How many hours of sleep you desire, referred to as sleep goals.
- Alarm sounds used for each sleep schedule.
- Automatic sleep mode activation
- Set a Wind Downtime so that you can adequately prepare to go to sleep.
Using the sleep tracking features is relatively simple for most users, as the Sleep app provides on-screen instructions. Also, there is an option to active sleep tracking by using the Health app on the iPhone, which many people are used to as it is a part of their regular health care routine. Another benefit for iPhone users is that the Sleep App data can be transferred daily to the Health app. This allows them to access the data using whichever app or device they are most comfortable with.
What are the benefits of using the Apple Watch to track and manage your sleep?
Using the sleep tracking features of the Apple Watch can help a lot with setting a regular daily routine. For example, if you are making a serious effort to set and maintain a regular sleep schedule, you automatically know how many hours you have in the day to get your everyday tasks done.
This can help maximize your time with work, better schedule your errands, possibly develop an exercise routine, spend quality time with friends and family, and more. It is possible to get even more accomplished during the day while still getting your required amount of sleep at night.
Consistently getting the required amount of sleep is vital for all of us. This is especially important for anyone on a diet and people with a regular exercise routine. Quality sleep can help get the most benefit from these activities. It can also help with alertness, energy levels, and minor health issues.
However, some people may attempt to incorporate the Apple Watch into a new health-based lifestyle, only to discover that the Sleep app does not work for them as it appears to work for others. This could be due to several sleep-related health issues. A specialist in sleep medicine can help with that and provide additional tips on using the Sleep app to fit the user’s specific situation best.
How Does the Apple Watch Track Sleep?
The Apple Watch is made of sensors, including an accelerometer and gyroscope, which detect movement. On the back of the watch, there is a heart rate sensor covered in ceramic zirconia. They are made of visible-light LEDs, as well as photodiodes. The sleep tracking integrates with the bedtime feature already present on the iPhone clock app.
The sleep tech is simplified and tracks your heart rate, duration of sleep, and movement disturbances. It focuses more on the time you go to bed. There’s a built-in sleep app.
The watch can detect when you’re sleeping and for how long. It does this through micro-movements that signal respiration when you’re asleep. In addition, the sleep app can detect periods of wake and sleep throughout the night. That’s all put together in a chart that’s helpful and monitors your sleep schedule over time.
Afterward, all the data is synced to your iPhone. The sleep app can be used together with the Do Not Disturb, sleep mode, and Wind Down features. This allows you to develop a specialized routine before you sleep.
It can include: bedtime reminders, screen dimming, watch face, among others. The watch can also wake you by delivering soft sounds or light vibrations. In addition, the accelerometer detects when your breathing resembles restful sleep or if you’re stirring and getting up frequently throughout the night.
The operating system generates a report that shows your sleep patterns over the past 14 days. Then, the watch shows a unique wake-up screen with battery level and weather data in the morning.
Is The Apple Watch Sleep Tracker Accurate?
The degree of accuracy provided by the Apple Watch is in line with what you can expect from a premium smartwatch. It makes you set goals that you’d like to achieve in terms of your sleep schedule. However, it does not overload you with too much data. Instead, it has a simple formula that is focused on helping you create a healthier bedtime routine.
However, according to most users, there isn’t enough value in the sleep data provided. Therefore, apple should consider significant improvements in subsequent software updates and future hardware releases.
Currently, users can gain more insight into what wakes them up at night with more actionable cross-referenced data. Adding more robust night data collection, like ambient noise measurements, can help with that.
The Apple Watch uses a tremendous amount of power, and therefore one might easily be led to believe it would provide a lot of valuable data. However, if you are considering buying the watch, then you should not set high expectations.
Nevertheless, the experience can be different for everyone. For example, using third-party apps can help you acquire more accurate information instead of solely relying on the in-built sleep tracking app. Unfortunately, doing so could lead to users waiting for the next update, hoping to get the most out of the built-in sleep tracking features from the Apple Watch.
What Are the Best Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Apps?
We have picked up some of the best apps to help you track your sleep to make it easier for you. Although the Apple Watch has built-in sleep tracking, it is relatively basic. If you want more data about your sleeping patterns, you will need a third-party sleep app for your Apple Watch.
What are the best free Apple Watch sleep tracking apps.
The following are some of the best free apps you can try:
Pillow (Free – $4.99 per month for Premium)
In-app purchases are included for a premium. The first thing you will notice about Pillow is how vibrant it looks. It also performs very well when it comes to working as a sleep tracker. It is free, but if you want to get the most out of it, you have to pay a monthly fee of $4.99 per month or $27.49 for an annual premium subscription.
It collects your data through a combination of actions, including sounds, your heart rate, and movement. The data is then presented through perfectly created, easy-to-read charts. You will not struggle to understand the graphs because they are apparent and detailed.
They focus more on your sleep stages than Auto sleep. The app tracks sleep through deep REM and light sleep, time in bed, and the time you go to sleep. Afterward, Pillow delivers a sleep quality score and tracks your heart rate overnight. If you pay a premium, you get access to the sleep lab to get more insights.
Sleep++ is one of the most popular Watch sleep apps on the App Store. Its most significant selling point is how simple it is to operate. Everything is free. It does not have paid subscriptions. This is convenient since you will not have to worry about paying for anything.
The design includes a start button, a stop button, and a small blue chart to show your sleep patterns. The app can, in addition, write your data on Apple Health. Unfortunately, despite the graph’s presentation being reliable, it is relatively basic and not very insightful.
However, you can observe your night’s sleep duration, sleep duration, and bedtime consistency score. One thing we love about the app is the long-term trend data, also nicely presented.
What are the best paid Apple Watch sleep tracking apps?
If you are really serious about tracking your sleep and don’t mind paying a few dollars for that, you can try these apps:
Autosleep is one of the top sleep tracking apps. It works automatically, as the name suggests. This is different from the other apps that need you to tell them when you are going to bed. You can be confident because the accuracy levels are impressive.
One impressive feature that even the most expensive sleep trackers often get wrong is the sleep and wake-up times from the automatic tracking. It keeps track of your sleep and nightly heart rate. In addition, the Sleep Bank monitors your week’s sleep and tells you whether you reached your goal.
Heartwatch intensely focuses on your heart rate data, then notifies you if there is any suspicious activity. The app is from Tantsissa, the company that also developed Autosleep. It does include sleep tracking features through overlaying Heart Rythm data to show your waking and sleeping heartbeat compared to your regular heartbeats.
One of the cons is the interface presents so much data that it may seem confusing to use for some people. That is one aspect that must be improved. Nevertheless, if your focus is on the relationship between your heart rate and sleep quality, the app will work well for you. You will not be disappointed with the accuracy.