The Journalist Takes A Deep Dive Into The Intricacies Of Watchos 7s Sleep Tracker Available On Apple Watch Series 3 And Up
Wearables have gone from being a novelty of expensive toys to technologies of the future. Some of what we don’t know about how our body works, we can be told in a tiny monitor strapped to our wrist — and that breadth of information is continually growing as technology develops.
That said, Apple’s new watchOS 7 now features sleep tracking, to help users hone data on how well they sleep through the night for how long.
Apple had been working on a sleep tracking feature for years, having started thinking about sleep back when they first started working on health features. Sleep, after all, “Like nutrition and physical activity, is a critical determinant of health and well-being,” says the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website. That said, sleep health education has become a prioirty for many technology companies, not just those in the wearables market. However, it is evident from the diversity of case studies the science of sleep has not been fully explored nor understood.
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provides the most data of any of the tested apps, but you’ll have to buy a membership to make the most of it, as well as receive heart rate comparisons and comprehensive sleep analyses. The paid membership will give you a numeric value for your quality of sleep — think of it as your sleep credit score!
You’ll also get data based on your sleep patterns, a ratio of light-to-restful sleep, and your heart rate. You can view this data on your Apple Watch, as well as on the mobile app.
You can set your sleep goal and adjust the sensitivity of the sleep detection. The Smart Bedtime Reminder is another paid feature that will remind you to go to sleep at a certain time to improve your sleep rhythm.
If you love to analyze data and see how changing your lifestyle can affect your sleep, then this is the app for you.
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has the unique feature of a built-in alarm with a “Wake up phase,” that automatically wakes you up at the optimal time, based on your sleep pattern. Set the time you need to wake up by, and the app will wake you up to 30 minutes before when you’re in your lightest phase of sleep. You can adjust that time frame in the app if you want a longer window of time before you’re woken up.
If you buy the paid version , you’ll unlock premium features, like a sleep aid to provide you with soothing sounds, weather alerts when you wake up, and heart rate monitoring.
Although the features may be better than the other apps, you won’t receive a data analysis of your sleep cycle.
The New Apple Watch Series 5 Comes With A Ton Of New Features Including An Always
The Apple Watch Series 5, introduced this week, comes with a few new features, including an always-on Retina display, a built-in compass app, period tracking, and activity stats, but it still lacks one basic function: sleep tracking.
It’s easy to see why Apple chose not to include sleep tracking on the Series 5. For starters, there’s battery life. While the new smartwatch’s low-temperature polysilicone and oxide display is meant to preserve power, Series 5 battery life is still 18 hours, the same as the Series 3 and 4. Design is also important to consider. The Series 5 is a sleek, premium wearable, but it doesn’t look like the most comfortable device to wear to bed.
It’s also clear that heart health features are the main focus here. At Tuesday’s press event, Apple opened the Apple Watch section with a video montage of users sharing stories about how the ECG reader and heart rate monitor alerted them or others to serious health conditions and helped save their lives.
Sleep is also the driving force behind performance. In a study done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2009, students on the Stanford Women’s tennis team had faster sprinting drills and increased hitting accuracy and depth following nights of extended sleep.
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The Apple Watch Doesnt Need Sleep Tracking Until It Gets Better Battery Life
The Apple Watch is widely considered to be the best smartwatch out there, even though it doesn’t work with Android phones. Personally, I had never used an Apple Watch until a couple weeks ago when I started using our Series 5 unit as my smartwatch of choice with my iPhone.
As one would expect, everything works great and in tandem between this watch and my phone, and it’s all great. However, I’ve had many people come up to me asking why the Apple Watch doesn’t come with sleep tracking built in. After all, it is a feature you’d find in almost every smartwatch out there, even on fitness bands. After thinking about that for a bit, and having used the watch for long enough to no longer be constantly amazed by things about it, I think the Apple Watch doesn’t need sleep tracking to be built in until the battery life gets better.
‘autosleep 5’ Brings Live Sleep Tracking To Apple Watch And Iphone X Support
Third party sleep tracking app AutoSleep reached version 5.0 on Tuesday, introducing a slew of new features and improvements, including iPhone X support and live sleep tracking on Apple Watch.
With later models of Apple Watch benefiting from major improvements in battery life, many Watch owners now wear their device to bed. Despite this, Apple still doesn’t provide a native sleep tracking feature in watchOS, which has allowed third-party apps like AutoSleep to step in and fill the void.
While AutoSleep can track sleep quality and duration using just an iPhone, one of the app’s biggest draws has been its Apple Watch component. Up until now, users had to sync the app to their iPhone to review calculated sleep metrics, but with AutoSleep 5, the Apple Watch app can now automatically track sleep without needing any help from an iPhone.
With sleep independently calculated on their wrist, users have the ability to scroll through sleep quality rings, deep sleep stats, and recharge summaries using the Digital Crown or by scrolling with a finger.
The Watch-based Lights Off feature, which lets users track how long it takes them to fall asleep, has also been rewritten. The progress display now has muted colors for viewing at night, and shows how much time the user has actually been asleep versus time spent just lying in bed.
This Is Very Clearly Not Where Apple Is Headed With The Watch Platform
If you watched the September 10 Apple Event, you caught some vital details about how Apple views this platform. This Watch saves lives. It helps people better themselves, it pays close enough attention to let you know you should go see a doctor when something is noticeably off. Apple’s pivot to health with the Watch has left a lasting impression on so many who use it every day, and no other consumer fitness tracker can really claim the same. As Apple took to the stage to announce partnerships with major medical organizations for study projects at a massive scale, it’s clear the medical community also feels strongly about how useful Apple Watch is to the people who have one.
And that’s why Apple Watch doesn’t have sleep tracking. It’s not enough for the feature to give you some vague idea of how well you are sleeping. Apple wants these features to have purpose, to deliver something genuinely useful to the owner instead of a placebo. To make sleep data part of Apple Health through the Watch would mean making the information useful enough that a medical professional might be able to look at that data and be able to make a recommendation based on it. Collecting that information in a way that doctors are happy with, outside of an actual monitored sleep study, doesn’t really happen with just a wrist gadget right now.
How To Monitor Your Breathing Rate While You Sleep With Apple Watch
Last year, with the introduction of watchOS 7, Apple added the ability to track your sleep metrics using the Apple Watch. Now, with watchOS 8, you can also track your respiratory rate throughout the night, which could help to detect early signs of medical conditions like sleep apnea, and chronic lung disease, among others.
Using its built-in accelerometer, the Apple Watch can track the number of breaths you take per minute while asleep. The results are then recorded in the Health app, which also gives you deeper insight into the data on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.
Here’s how to monitor your breathing rate while you sleep with Apple Watch.
Sleep Trackers Suck That’s Why Apple Watch Still Doesn’t Have One
As the pre-Apple Event rumor mill churned, one of the things to come from Apple Watch news was the potential arrival of a sleep tracking function native to the platform. Many fitness trackers offer sleep tracking as a feature, which makes its omission on the most popular fitness tracker on the planet seem especially egregious. If these other companies can figure it out, surely Apple could do the same right?
Here’s a big secret — something we don’t talk about enough — sleep tracking in almost every fitness tracker is broken and terrible. And I couldn’t be happier Apple isn’t shipping a similarly poor feature just to say the Watch had something similar.
Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Guide: How To Use It For Better Sleep
The Apple Watch only gained the ability to track sleep natively with watchOS 7. True to form, Apple’s take on sleep monitoring is different to nearly every other wearable out there.
Yes, it’s far more simplistic. But there’s still a lot to like, and some unique benefits to using the Apple Watch to watch over your rest.
We’ve been living with it for a number of months – here’s everything we’ve learned and you need to know about the Apple Watch and sleep tracking.
If you’re looking for more traditional sleep tracking, there are plenty of third party Apple Watch sleep apps that will offer something akin to Fitbit – check out our complete guide.
Battery Life Works For Now But Longer Battery Would Make Sense
Existing Apple Watches will need at least 30% battery life on a charge before tracking sleep at night. If the battery level’s lower, the watch will request a charge-up. The Apple Watch 5‘s battery lasts about 18 hours, and in about 1.5 hours and 100% in 2.5 hours. Apple’s sleep tracking dims the display and reduces background activity, showing a basic watch face and the date or alarm if a button is pressed.
If you’re used to charging the Apple Watch every night, wearing the watch to bed may seem like a disruption. “That does introduce new charging behavior for people where before they would just charge overnight,” Lynch acknowledges, leaving wearers to decide whether to top off in the morning, charge a bit more at night, or just skip sleep tracking.
It would make a lot of sense to just find a way to improve the Apple Watch battery life — maybe by expanding the battery capacity in the next modelsor removing Force Touch, which senses pressure to do things like change the watch face. Apple’s new app guidelines encourage developers to move away from Force Touch, and include these features in the UI or through a long press on WatchOS 7. Apple removed pressure-sensitive 3D Touch from the iPhone 11 Pro and gained considerable battery life in return. Could the same happen for the Apple Watch this fall and help sleep tracking be less awkward, too?
The Best Sleep Tracking Apps To Download For Your Apple Watch
The Apple Watch finally has its own built-in sleep tracking – but it’s a very basic affair. If you want more data about your slumber, you’ll need a third party Apple Watch sleep app.
The beauty of the Apple Watch is that there’s a rich ecosystem of third party apps, which expand the feature set beyond the standard watchOS experience. So although Apple hasn’t natively added sleep tracking, there’s no shortage of apps to fill the void.
Apple has enabled the sleep tracking experience to be a little easier. There’s a Bedtime mode that will put your watch into a do not disturb mode between certain hours, and stop the smartwatch from blinding you with the screen wake backlight.
However, the challenge is finding time in your day to recharge your Apple Watch, given it only has a single day of battery life.
If you’re looking for an Apple Watch app to track your sleep and give you richer, more insightful stats, we’ve picked out the ones we think you should be taking to bed below.
What About Using A Fitbit Apple Watch Or Other Wrist Wearable
If you already use a wearable with sleep-tracking capabilities, you may be perfectly happy sticking with what you have rather than buying a separate app to use on your phone. Wearables track your sleep automatically—no setup before bed. In 2018, we tested the sleep-tracking features on a Fitbit tracker, a Garmin tracker, and an Apple Watch against four apps. At the time, the wearables were frequently off compared with the apps, usually over-reporting sleep, though they did give an accurate picture of sleep trends over time. This is something you’ll see as long as you consistently use the same device over the long term.
The biggest advantage of sleep-tracking phone apps over wearables lies in the extra features, such as smart alarms and sounds that help you fall asleep. Wearables can buzz you awake, which is a plus if you sleep with a partner who has a different schedule, and they can nudge you to get ready for bed just as they nudge you to get up and move during the day. They’re great for people who prefer not to bring a phone into the bedroom, and they can be helpful in determining how hard you should work out the next day based on your sleep.
Phone Calls On Your Wrist: Apple Wins But Fitbit Catching Up
With the Apple Watch you can both make and receive voice calls on your wrist. You can even use Siri for hands-free dialling.
If someone calls you while you’re wearing your Apple Watch , you’ll be alerted by a subtle vibration as well as an audible ringtone if you haven’t set the device to silent.
Look at your watch and you’ll see who’s calling, along with an answer or decline button. If it’s someone you want to talk to, tap the green answer button. There are a built-in speaker and microphone, so you’ll be able to chat without getting your iPhone out of your bag or pocket. If you don’t want everyone else to be able to hear your conversation you need to use a Bluetooth headset, or transfer the call from the Watch to your iPhone.
The only Fitbits with a microphone are the Versa 2, Versa 3 and Sense, which uses the mic to operate Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant .
Likewise, the Apple Watch has a microphone and a speaker, so you can talk to it and it can talk to you. You can also use the mic to do voice dictation, send audio messages, and chat to friends via the Phone app. It also boasts up to 32GB of storage so you can keep a bunch of your dearest photos on your wrist.
But, of course, the Apple Watch pairs only with Apple’s iPhone, so Android users should consider Fitbit their friend, or look to other smartwatches from the likes of Samsung.
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There’s a related question: Am I getting good sleep? Well, I have an Apple Watch, and it can track my steps, heart rate, time spent standing and all that — so maybe I’ll just start wearing it to bed and get some answers.
You know the punchline: The Apple Watch still doesn’t do sleep-tracking, at least not out of the box. But there are many third-party apps that can fill in this gap, keeping tabs on how long you sleep and how well.
Apple Watch Sleep Tracking: What It Does And How To Use It
– In the latest watchOS 7 update Apple enables you to track sleep using the Apple Watch. watchOS 7 works with Apple Watch Series 3, 4, 5 and the new Apple Watch Series 6 we’re expecting. It isn’t compatible with Series 1 or 2.
Sleep tracking has been a much-wanted feature for the Apple Watch and has been available previously in third-party apps.
Now though, there is a Sleep app on the watch and it uses motion to detect your sleep time. You obviously need to be wearing your Apple Watch to track your sleep, so you’ll need to change your charging behaviour and juice up in the day. If you don’t, you’ll end up with no charge at 10am the next morning.
The good thing about Apple Watch sleep tracking is that it is set-and-forget, so your sleep will be tracked without you having to do anything. But it’s fully configurable as you’ll see.
Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Was Planned For Over Five Years
Sleep tracking has been an intended feature for the Apple Watch for the last five years, Apple VP of technology Kevin Lynch has revealed in an interview, with its inclusion in watchOS 7 and iOS 14 being a sign Apple is keen to do more with its years of research on the subject.
A long-rumored feature of the Apple Watch, the added sleep-related functionality intends to make a night’s rest better for its users, including encouraging users to set a daily routine before they go to bed. While it is an expansion of Apple’s existing Bedtime feature in iOS, the move from a simple sleep-time metric to something more advanced has been on the cards for quite some time.
In an interview with CNET, Lynch confirmed sleep tracking has been on the product roadmap of the Apple Watch since its original debut. Apple has been conducting sleep research for many years, including using EEGs for measuring sleep compared to an Apple Watch, but only now is it becoming a bigger thing for Apple to present to users.
On the subject of the Wind Down feature, which helps set the bedtime routine, Lynch explains the establishing of a routine is important to sleep quality. “Many sleep apps show information about REM cycles and other data like that, and we’ve looked a lot into that,” said the VP.
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What Data Does The Apple Watch Sleep Tracking App Collect
On the watch, you can see your sleep schedule, most recent data and a summary of your sleep consistency over the past 14 days.
You can see more data on the Apple Health iOS app. When you open it up and head for the Sleep section, you can also see the average time spent in bed and time spent asleep over a month. You can also see a series of highlights that range from average sleep over seven days as well as heart rate during sleep.
The importance of seeing that heart rate information during this time is that it can give you a sense of how your body recovers from the day and can also be a sign of whether you’re in a good state of health. Heart rate during sleep can vary from 40-100bpm, and can be influenced by a range of things like exercise or drinking.
How Can You Make Sure Your Apple Watch Is Tracking Sleep
Apple’s Sleep app also allows you to track sleep from your iPhone, which is based around the bedtime schedule that you will have to create when you set up the Sleep app. This is synchronous: whether you set it up on the Apple Watch or iPhone first, it should automatically sync with the other device and activate Sleep during your scheduled bedtime.
To make sure your Apple Watch is recording sleep, look for the Sleep app on your home screen . From there you can enable tracking sleep with the Apple Watch that will forward that data to the iOS Apple Health app. It’s here where you can also enable charging reminders and automatically turn on the Do Not Disturb mode at night – though if you want to switch it on manually, look for the new ‘Bedtime’ button on your control center.
Does The Apple Watch Have Enough Battery To Track Sleep
Battery life has been pointed to as a reason why Apple might have been reluctant to offer its own sleep tracking app in the past. Apple still states an 18 hour battery life for its smartwatch, which hasn’t changed since the first Watch. Any battery improvements have been canceled out by features like the Apple Watch 5’s always-on screen.
To make sure you have enough battery to track sleep through the night, Apple requires your watch to be charged to at least 30% to enable it.
If you don’t, the Watch will prompt you to charge before going to bed. When it’s got enough juice, your phone will alert you that it’s ready to join you in bed. In our time we found that sleep tracking sucked up around 20% battery on average, so it’s definitely going to impact how much battery you’re left with in the morning.
Apps: Fitbit Wins On Fitness Apple On Everything Else
Apple’s Activity and Workout apps look glorious, of course, but Fitbit’s appealing multi-phone app features more fitness stats and data graphics. Fitbit also wins by having a rich desktop dashboard to collect and organise your activity data.
The Versa 3 and Sense work with the Fitbit Coach and Premium, which combine dynamic video workouts with Audio Coaching sessions to help users increase endurance, speed and form. With pricing of £7.99 or $9.99 a month, Fitbit says its Premium service will grow to include advanced tools with a library of programs and workouts to deliver personalised adaptive health and fitness coaching.
Apple has released its own Fitness+ with workouts and trainers for £9.99 or $9.99 a month.
The Versa 3 and Sense might measure up better against the Apple Watch when they have a much-expanded range of non-fitness apps. Right now its apps are very limited outside of Fitbit’s impressive health and fitness functions, plus notification features – but more are being released, and there are over 500 to download. If you want a large range of non-health apps then the Watch or an Android equivalent will suit you better than a Fitbit, although they do feature Caller ID, text message and calendar alerts on screen.
Other Apple apps include Calendar, Camera Remote, Weather and Apple Maps. And there’s a huge range of downloadable apps for the Apple Watch.
What Do You Need To Access The Apple Watch Sleep App
You’ll need an Apple Watch that is capable of running watchOS 7, the last major software update set to roll out for Apple’s smartwatch. You’ll also need an iPhone that runs iOS 14, which requires an iPhone 6s or later.
WatchOS 7 and the Sleep app are compatible with the following devices:
So if you’ve got an original Apple Watch or a Series 1 or 2 model, you’re sadly out of luck here.