Which Should You Buy: Fitbit Or Apple Watch
If fitness is your primary focus then we think the Fitbit trackers come out on top , but the Apple Watch, of course, offers a lot more than just activity tracking and heart-rate monitoring.
The expanding Apple Watch app ecosystem will make the Watch a much more versatile wearable than a dedicated fitness band. And the new Series 6 Apple Watch with built-in GPS and 4G is a major advance in Apple creating a proper activity tracker, despite its improved but comparatively poor battery life.
But that comes at a pretty steep price.
The Fitbits offer much better battery life ,and so don’t have to be charged every night while you sleep.
Detailed sleep monitoring can be nearly as enlightening to the state of ones health as ones daytime exercise routine. While Apple has added a Sleep app, its weaker battery life makes this troublesome for users. Sleep tracking on the Fitbit is much easier, although Fitbit does hide some of the metrics back for its Premium subscribers.
And we love the motivation offered by Fitbits Friends league.
Crucially, if you have an Android, the Apple Watch is simply not for you. Without an iPhone, its pretty useless.
Apple Watch users dont need to get a Fitbit as well as their prized digital timepiece, but runners and the fitness nuts should consider adding some third-party apps or a dedicated sports watch from Garmin, Suunto or Polar, or try out the Ionic.
How Does It Work
In direct comparison to the likes of Fitbit, Withings and other wearables, Apples sleep tracking is undeniably basic.
Theres no sleep stage tracking of REM, deep and light cycles, nor is there in-depth analysis of how long it took you to drop off. Why? Because Apple says that stuff isnt really directly improvable by users, thus not useful to know and it has a point.
The Apple Watch therefore focuses on the tracking of sleep duration, and behaviors you can control for a better night’s sleep. That included consistent bedtime and wake ups, and ironically, spending less time with your devices.
It uses the motion sensors and accelerometer to monitor your rest, and while it does use the heart rate sensor to track blood oxygen and bpm, this isnt factored into the assessment of your sleep.
That may seem insanely retro but it works. Were continually comparing and testing the best sleep trackers, and the Apple Watch is up there with the most accurate devices in terms of tracking sleep duration.
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 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.
Create Your Bedtime Routine With Wind Down
Just saying that youre going to sleep at a certain time is not as easy as it sounds. Apple thought about that and decided to add Wind Down. This is a new health feature that will help you go to sleep on time by creating a bedtime routine.
With Wind Down, your iPhone will turn on Do Not Disturb a certain amount of time before your bedtime. Besides enabling Do Not Disturb, you can also customize shortcuts thatll help you set the mood to go to sleep. You can set many shortcuts, like listening to a relaxing playlist, or starting up your meditation app, basically anything that makes you sleepy.
Screen: Draw But Morefaces From Apple
Apple Watch vs Fitbit specs and dimensions: The Fitbit Sense and Versa 3 are close in size to the smaller version of the Apple Watch. Both devices are equipped with a 1.58-inch display with a resolution of 336 x 336 pixels.
The dimensions of the Sense and Versa 3 pebble are 40.48mm.
All use an AMOLED display, which offers deeper blacks and sharper details than the original Versa.
Now the Versa 3 and Sense screen are as good as the Apple Watch’s display, which brings the comparison closer still.
The Apple Watch has displays at 40mm and 44mm for both the Watch SE and Watch 6.
The new Apple Watch 6 comes in 40mm and 44mm sizes.The Series 6 – like the Series 5 before it – is slimmer than the Series 3, which means that despite the larger screens they have less volume than their predecessors.
The 38mm Apple Watch 3has a272-x-340 resolution. The 42mm Apple Watch 3 has a 312-x-390 resolution.
The Apple Watchs touchscreen is a colourful beauty. The Versa and Sense’s colour screens are not as lush as Apple’s, but do allow for more than the other Fitbit activity trackers’ minimal looks – the Inspire 2 and Charge 4 have a monochrome display, while the new Fitbit Luxe boasts a small but colourful screen.
You also get customisable watch faces with Apple, from digital and analogue chronometer and photo backgrounds to the new Siri watch face. You can also select watch faces on the Ionic, and even design your own.
Best Sleep Tracker Apps For Apple Watch
I think its time we address a serious question. Where is the sleep tracker on our Apple Watch? The latest Apple Watch is set to launch in September of this year. It is the Series 6 and is rumored to come through with much faster performance and even better water resistance.
And, of course, yes, your Apple Watch, regardless of model and version, is also capable of keeping an eye on your sleeping patterns.
According to the CDC, there are 50 to 70 million US adults that suffer from some or other sleep disorder. People experiencing sleep insufficiency are more likely to suffer from other chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
That being said, we must have control over our sleeping habits. In this collection, Ill be sharing with you some of my favorite Apple Watch apps that I use to track my sleep.
What Data Will You See
As I mentioned before, the Sleep app will show you the information you need about your sleep.
You can view the data from either your iPhone, using the Health app, or on your Apple Watch, on the Sleep app. Both will first show you how much you slept and how much time you were just in bed.
This is just to show you how much sleep are you actually getting every night. Youll also see your night compared to the night before, and how close you were to your personal sleep goal. This is where the app becomes a bit competitive and it sounds like youre trying to beat your highest score from the night before.
Besides your sleep, the Apple Watch also tracks your heart rate while you sleep. This is more useful than you might first think. If you have a heart condition, suffer from stress, or even if you have a nightmare, the Sleep app will help you determine if you need to create a better bedtime routine or even go to the doctor.
Change Or Add A Sleep Schedule
Open the Sleep app
Tap Full Schedule, then do one of the following:
Change a sleep schedule: Tap the current schedule.
Add a sleep schedule: Tap Add Another Schedule.
Change your sleep goal: Tap Sleep Goal, then set the amount of time you want to sleep.
Change Wind Down time: Tap Wind Down, then set the amount of time you want sleep mode to be active before bedtime.
To reduce distractions before your scheduled bedtime, sleep mode turns on during Wind Down. Sleep mode turns off the watch display and turns on Do Not Disturb.
Do any of the following:
Set the days for your schedule: Tap your schedule, then tap the area below Active On. Choose days, then tap Done.
Adjust your wake time and bedtime: Tap Wake Up or Bedtime, turn the Digital Crown to set a new time, then tap Set.
Set the alarm options: Turn Alarm off or on and tap Sound to choose an alarm sound.
Remove or cancel a sleep schedule: Tap Delete Schedule to remove an existing schedule, or tap Cancel to cancel creating a new one.
Sleep Tracking With Watchos 7
Apple finally added the long-awaited to Apple Watch with WatchOS 7. Its pretty simple to use, too. Just set a bedtime and wake-up time, and the Apple Watch will help you get a good nights rest. We all know sleep hygiene is important, and the Wind Down feature helps to minimize distractions before bedtime, such as switching your iPhone to Do Not Disturb and changing the lock screen to a less-distracting interface. As soon as its your scheduled bedtime, the Apple Watch starts automatically tracking sleep. Make sure your watch is set to a comfortable fit if its too loose on your wrist, it may register too much movement during the night.
Your sleep data tracked through the Apple Watch integrates with the Apple Health app, and through the app, you can see statistics based on how much shut-eye youre getting and receive tips for better sleep. Each morning when you wake up, your Apple Watch provides you with a summary of your nights sleep as well as a battery indicator to remind you to charge your device.
Battery Life: Fitbit Wins No Contest
The Apple Watch has so many potential uses that its battery runs down a lot faster than standard activity trackers.
Apple says youll get up to 18 hours of active and passive use: thats 90 time-checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of nonstop app use, and a 30-minute workout with Bluetooth music playback from the watch. So you need to charge every night unless you use it only to tell the time in which case you might get three days out of it in Power Reserve Mode.
As mentioned earlier, Apple Watch has much-improved battery life, and with light use can last nearly three full days – and crucially a couple of nights for sleep tracking. But Apple acknowledges the weaker battery life by not having sleep tracking as a built-in app.
The Apple Watch is smart about saving what battery life it has. The watch face always turns off every 15 to 20 seconds. When you put your arm down the screen goes black. When you raise your wrist, the screen returns.
You can also put it into Power Save Mode in the Workout app on your phone to turn off heart-rate tracking completely during runs although thats not great for learning more about your run. Serious runners want detail before, during and after the run, and dont want to carry their iPhone and their Watch with them.
Anyone whos a keen tracker user will know the fear when you are suddenly alerted to a fading battery. Every step must be counted. Overuse your Watch, and it might die during a workout or just moving around during the day.
Why Is Sleep Important
Many of us routinely skimp on sleep in fact, two thirds of adults throughout developed nations get less than eight hours sleep a night.
You probably don’t realise how sleep-deprived you are if you start each day with a strong coffee. Caffeine blocks sleepiness signals, artificially making you feel more alert.
Insufficient sleep increases your risk of Alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, depression, diabetes, stroke and numerous other health problems. It shatters your immune system. And it interferes with hunger signals, too, increasing levels of a hormone that makes you feel hungry, while suppressing a companion hormone that makes you feel sated which can lead to weight gain.
From a more cheerful perspective, getting the NHS-recommended seven to nine hours sleep and making sure its good quality sleep is a free way to improve your health, memory, mood, appearance and decision-making.
How Garmin Tracks Sleep
Many Garmins – those with optical heart rate sensors – offer what Garmin calls Advanced Sleep Monitoring .
These include the Garmin Fenix 5 and 6 series , Garmin Fenix 5 Plus series , Garmin Forerunner 45 , Garmin Forerunner 645 and Garmin Forerunner 645 Music , Garmin Forerunner 935 , Garmin Venu , Garmin Vivoactive 3 , Garmin Vivosmart 4 and Garmin Vivosport .
Information you’ll get includes estimates of your sleep stages, Pulse Ox and respiration rate.
Garmin watches come packed with features for your daytime fitness needs too. You can read all our Garmin smartwatch reviews to find out more.
What Does The Apple Watch Track
If youre just in it for the basics think general sleep trends you may be satisfied. The Sleep app will track your total time asleep and track each time you woke up throughout the night, as well as your and . It will also record how much time you spend in bed and provide weekly and monthly sleep time averages. This data is based on your motion during Sleep mode.
Notably, the app offers the option to create multiple sleep schedules, including a chosen bedtime, preferred wake-up time, , and sleep goal. Based on the schedule you set, your device will automatically enter Sleep mode .
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.
What Do I Use
Despite all of the new entrants into the sleep tracking Apple Watch industry, I still find AutoSleep to be the most powerful option, but thats not to say its perfect. AutoSleep offers you a lot of data, and you can pick and choose whether to read too much into it.
Additionally, I pair the AutoSleep data with the features introduced with watchOS 7 and iOS 14. You can still use features such as Wind Down and Sleep Mode, and track data using third-party sources such as AutoSleep.
NapBot is becoming a close second for me, and its getting better with each passing update. Both NapBot and AutoSleep, for instance, offer iOS 14 home screen widgets and Apple Watch complications, something that isnt possible with Apples Health data.
The key, regardless of which application you pick, is to make sure there is some sort of automatic sleep detection feature. This reduces friction and means you dont have to remember to manually start a sleep tracking session every night before bed. Instead, your Apple Watch can track your sleep in the background, without any interaction from you.
These apps also integrate with Apples Health app, which means you can get an overview of your sleep data alongside everything else in the Health app. The Health app is useful for tracking long-term trends and averages, but if you want detailed data, youll have to jump to your third-party app of choice.
Do you track your sleep with Apple Watch? Which app do you prefer? Let us know down in the comments!
Compatibility: Apple Is Iphone Only
Fitbit is compatible with iOS and Android. You dont have to have a smartphone for Fitbit to work, as you can sync with the excellent desktop Fitbit Dashboard, but its good to have more syncing opportunities and be able to see some fancy stats and graphs on the go.
While only the Versa 3 and Sense smartwatches can run apps themselves, a Fitbit wristband can be integrated with apps such as MapMyRun, MyFitnessPal, Runkeeper, Endomondo, Strava and more.
For obvious reasons Apple Watch is compatible with iOS devices only, so the iPhone is the only smartphone that will work with it, and you really need one for it to make sense.
Apple Watch can run other fitness apps, such as Nike+Run Club, Runtastic Pro, Pocket Yoga, Map My Run, Endomondo, and Cyclemeter GPS. New apps will be released in the future so the Watch should get better functionality as developers work out new features.
Sleep Data Is Modest And Not Particularly Actionable
Apples sleep tracking app interface is simple. Tell it your preferred bedtime schedule in my case, 11 p.m. to just before 6 a.m. and it will be looking out for sleep during those times . It turns out that you must set up tracking schedules to cover each individual day of the week or use separate schedules for weekdays and weekends. I didnt realize until too late that the Watch hadnt recorded data for two full nights because I hadnt set up a separate weekend schedule to cover them.
Assuming the Watch gathers your data properly, youll see a very modest display of data, including a bar representing your total time asleep, the timestamps indicating sleep start and end points, and a bar chart covering the last 14 days. If you want a deeper dive, you can open the Health app on an iPhone to see your average time in bed and average time asleep and under some conditions, a correlation of your overnight heart rate data with your sleeping schedule. When I checked the Health app, one day the heart rate data was there, but another day it disappeared from the apps list of Highlights and I couldnt find it.
Apple has suggested its providing little data to keep users from obsessing over their sleep schedules, as that might inadvertently generate even more anxiety or restlessness. Im still not sure whether thats truly an act of kindness or just a convenient excuse for underwhelming functionality.
Sleep Watch By Bodymatter
Sleep Watch is yet another capable third-party app to track sleep using the Apple Watch. The company claims to use Artificial Intelligence to measure, track, and improve sleep quality.
I like the default dark blue theme that the app uses. Its easy to view and read at night. Sometimes, it feels like the app is trying to throw too much information at the user, which can be overwhelming for some.
Other features include daily briefings, last nights sleep details, auto sleep, heart rate tracking, sleep disruption tracking, and more.
How Fitbit Tracks Sleep
All Fitbit fitness trackers and smartwatches will track your sleep when you wear them to bed. After an hour of your body being immobile, your Fitbit will detect that you’re asleep.
Fitbits with heart-rate monitors, other than the Fitbit Surge and Fitbit Charge HR, are designed to track sleep stages. The Fitbit Charge 4 , Fitbit Inspire HR Fitbit Charge 3 , Fitbit Versa 2 and Fitbit Versa are amongst the Fitbits which do this. They’ll give you graphs and charts showing daily, weekly and monthly stats. Usefully, you can edit the times that have been recorded if you don’t think they’re correct.
Some Fitbits, such as those in the Versa range, also have a sleep-cycle alarm, which Fitbit calls Smart Wake.
Fitbits which don’t track heart rate still show sleep patterns in the Fitbit app.
At time of writing, Fitbit is working on getting clearance for a tool to detect sleep apnoea . In the meantime, you can use the SpO2 feature on Fitbits which have this to check your blood oxygen levels across the night. Big fluctuations could indicate breathing disturbances such as sleep apnoea, but you should of course check with your GP if concerned.
Fitbit Premium Vs Apple Fitness+
Both Apple and Fitbit have special subscriber services, where extra features, some stats, and personalised insights need to be paid for.
Apples Fitness+ is, as the name implies, focused on workouts and fitness, while Fitbit Premium takes in fitness, health, nutrition and wellbeing.
Apple’s Fitness+ subscriber service is fairly new. It costs . Fitness+ can be shared among up to six family members for the same price. When you buy an Apple Watch, new users get three months of free Fitness+.
It includes home workout programs that complement the Watch’s fitness features so your activity is tracked alongside the workouts videos that can be watched on your iPhone, iPad or AppleTV.
Workout categories include High-Intensity Interval Training , Strength, Yoga, Dance, Core, Cycling, Treadmill , Rowing, and Mindful Cooldown.
Virtual trainers tailor the workout to your required level.
After the workout, you can see your workout metrics, such as heart rate, duration, pace and calories burned. As you hit various targets, the Watch’s Activity ring is mirrored on the workout’s video screen.
Fitbit Premium has been going for longer and offers lots more than just workouts, including guided programs to help you stay active, eat and sleep well, and manage stress.
It is priced similarly to Apple’s service, at 7.99/$9.99 per month or 79.99/$79.99 per year, so a little cheaper in the UK when paid monthly.
There is no family membership option for Fitbit Premium.
Do Sleep Apps Work When You Share A Bed
It is possible that if you have a sleeping partner including a pet, then the data can get messed up. However, sleeping with a partner is less of a risk because the apps are designed to track motion of the nearest person. A pet jumping in the bed may prove to be more problematic to the data when compared to another human.
Apple Watch Uncovered My Toxic Stress Level And Helped Me Fix It
With Sleep Watch, HRV Tracker and Breathe on the Apple Watch, I was able to change the most unhealthy part of my life.
The Apple Watch’s built-in Breathe app is an excellent way to begin a meditation routine.
When I started using the app on the Apple Watcha year ago, I intended to mostly compare it to other tracking products I had tried. But it led to a series of events that helped me not only quantify my sleep better than other sleep tech, but also identified a bigger issue: my unhealthy level of stress. Combined with a couple other apps on the Apple Watch, I was able to improve my stress and track my progress by following Heart Rate Variability.
It all kicked off last May when I started testing the SleepWatch app and a couple other sleep tracking apps on the Apple Watch. Part of my motivation was that reports had begun circulating that Apple was working on adding built-in sleep tracking to the Apple Watch. So I wanted to see if the Apple Watch actually had strong enough battery life to handle sleep tracking, if I minded wearing my watch while I slept, how accurate its tracking could be, and what kinds of data it could provide.
After testing the free versions of several sleep tracking apps. I gravitated to because it felt like the most polished, most detailed and the one that was most like a feature would design.
The Apple Watch continues to add more health features over time.