While Reliability Is Questionable Fitness Trackers Can Be A Useful Guide
Countless studies have varied in their results of fitness tracker reliability but for the most part, the consensus is that actigraphy is generally accurate enough to track sleep in healthy adults with normal sleep patterns. Its just not as accurate as an in-home sleep study using a polysomnogram to monitor brain activity.
Well, it all comes down to psychology. Maybe you give yourself a pat on the back after your fitness tracker tells you youve had 8 hours sleep .
And thats a good thing. Even before wearable technology was invented, it was well known that tracking anything related to your health made you more aware of your choices. When you count steps, you tend to do more steps. When you write down your calories, you tend to be more conscious of what youre eating.
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Sleep Cycle 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.
Sleep Trackers And Battery Life:
Ever since I got my Apple Watch, Ive started tracking my sleep using its built-in feature, but it wasnt long before the battery died before the end of the day. It didnt matter if I used the watch during the day, it still wore down throughout the evening, leaving me with no way to get all of my data synced to my iPhone.
All that activity means your Apple Watch is going to need a charge. And sleep tracking will drain the battery life the most because the wearable will have to work harder to monitor your vitals.
A common concern expressed by Apple Watch users is battery usage. The lithium-ion batteries in both the 38mm and 42mm models are rated to last for 18 hours. This is based on the goal of getting ~4 hour in bright conditions with heavy usage, up to ~6 in normal conditions, up to ~10 in dim conditions.
I charge my Apple Watch every night before going to bed. Sometimes I hit a nice streak and make it a couple weeks in a rowIll miss one day but then charge the next night. But Ive missed nights of charging plenty of times, too. When my Apple Watch has less than 50% battery, I charge it before bed, too.
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Sleep Is Auto Detected
The Apple Clock App, allows you to track sleep manually, but if you just want to wear the watch to sleep and have sleep auto-detected, we believe you will enjoy Sleep Watch sleep analysis more. SleepWatch can log your sleep history and times to the Apple Health App. Automatic sleep tracking from SleepWatch is hassle-free. It is an easy way to manage sleep. Do you ever wonder: Am I getting enough sleep? or Are naps affecting my sleep? Sleep is a curious human activity and SleepWatch may be able to shed some light on many aspects of sleep. How do you sleep? SleepWatch may be able to provide some insights. Cant sleep and want to see your sleep deficit? Snore Apps are interesting, but how do you Sleep overall and how does that change over time? SleepWatch can help you keep track.
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.
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Track Your Sleep With Apple Watch
With the Sleep app on Apple Watch, you can create bedtime schedules to help you meet your sleep goals. Wear your watch to bed, and Apple Watch can track your sleep. When you wake up, open the Sleep app to learn how much sleep you got and see your sleep trends over the past 14 days.
If your Apple Watch is charged less than 30 percent before you go to bed, youre prompted to charge it. In the morning, just glance at the greeting to see how much charge remains.
You can create multiple schedulesfor example, one for weekdays and another for weekends. For each schedule, you can set up the following:
A sleep goal
What time you want to go to bed and wake up
An alarm sound to wake you up
When to turn on sleep mode, which limits distractions before you go to bed and protects your sleep after youre in bed
Sleep tracking, which uses your motion to detect sleep when Apple Watch is in sleep mode and worn to bed
Tip: To exit sleep mode, first turn the Digital Crown to unlock. Then swipe up to open Control Center and tap .
How To Track Your Sleep With An Apple Watch
Do you want to know how to track your sleep with an Apple Watch? With WatchOS 7 for Apple Watch Series 3 devices and later, its easy to track your sleep using the in-built sleep-tracking feature. If youre rocking an older Apple Watch, theres no need to worry there are a few sleep-tracking workarounds involving apps and using your iPhone. However, none are ideal, and well also fill you in on the one big drawback that may change your mind about using the Apple Watch to track sleep at all.
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What Else Do I Need To Know About Sleep Tracking With My Apple Watch
As with any form of Apple Watch tracking, sleep tracking works best if you’re wearing your Apple Watch on the correct wrist and comfortably. If the watch is too loose, the accelerometer might register too much movement from you, even when you’re asleep. Wear it too tightly, and you’re probably going to feel somewhat uncomfortable trying to sleep.
As well as that, you may need to change when you recharge your Apple Watch. You need your watch battery to be at around 30% or more for it to track your sleep all night successfully. Otherwise, the Watch will tell you to charge it up beforehand.
For those with the Apple Watch SE or Apple Watch Series 6, this will be less of an issue, but older models will definitely need a solid top-up at some point before you head to bed. We recommend hitting your Stand goal for the day then sticking your Watch on charge for an hour or so before bed, such as when you’re unwinding reading a book or watching TV. That way, it should last the duration.
Finally, consider buying a watch strap that will be more comfortable to wear in bed. It’s not essential but if you need plenty of comfort while you sleep, it could help.
The Science Of Sleep Tracking
So, sleep is important. But what exactly should we track? If we take sleep laboratory tracking as a guide, we should consider the following parameters:
- Breathing Rate
- Sleep Positions
- Brainwave Patterns
If you were to visit a sleep clinic and undergo the gold standard of sleep analysis known as polysomnography, the information above would be gathered together and assessed to determine the possible presence of a sleep disorder. And a fundamental part of this type of sleep study would be the last on this list monitoring of your brainwave patterns. This component would be crucial not only to track the stages of your sleep, but also your sleep cycles. As you will see below, whilst there are a number of possible indicators of the stage of sleep we are in, the only way to be certain is through brainwave measurement.
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Apple Watch Sleep App
It would be remiss not to start this guide by mentioning the built-in Apple Watch sleep tracking feature, which debuted with watchOS 7.
It’s far more simplistic than any of the other apps on this list, so if you’re used to in-depth data on your sleep cycles, deep sleep or other biometric data you might be a little underwhelmed.
However, it combines with the iPhone to put a focus on your sleep consistency and sleep hygiene. It’s about setting bedtime and wake ups which can build better sleep, and the Apple Watch will also keep tabs on sleep duration and heart rate during sleep.
We’ve tested against the Fitbit Sense and Withings Sleep Analyzer and found it to be one of the most accurate trackers in terms of sleep duration. It’s not just tracking the time in bed, but how long you actually slept between tossing and turning something that many systems regularly over-estimate.
You don’t get much in terms of stats to review. You can see your average time in bed, average sleep and the duration of each sleep. This is visible both on the Apple Watch and the Health app.
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If youre an executive seeking peak performance from the moment you wake up or a parent hoping to create a better nightly routine for your family, youve probably heard about sleep tracking wearables devices that promise to improve your health and productivity by monitoring your sleep. Sleep tracking tech is rapidly becoming ubiquitous: This month, Apple added the feature to tens of millions of Apple Watches in a free watchOS 7 software update, and in August.
But despite years of work by researchers and wearable developers, meaningfully useful sleep tracking remains more a dream than a reality. After trying the feature in prerelease versions of watchOS 7, I spent the past week testing Apples finished sleep tracking app, which meant changing my daily charging routine, wearing my Watch to bed each night, and checking my phone for insights each day. Having gone through that process, Im convinced Ive experienced the kernel of a valuable solution, but just like the very first Apple Watch, it still feels half-baked.
Here are some of the things I discovered during my testing regimen.
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Edit Your Sleep Schedule
Tap Open Sleep Options in Health to open the Health app, where you can turn on the switch for Sleep Schedule. Tap the Edit link under Full Schedule and set your usual times for going to sleep and waking up. You can also set different times for different days, such as one schedule for weekdays and another for weekends.
Under Additional Details, tap the entry for Sleep Goal and set the number of hours and minutes that you hope to sleep. Tap the entry for Wind Down to select the amount of time for winding down before bed. Tap the entry for Wind Down Shortcuts to set up any shortcuts youd like to apply during Wind Down. Finally, tap the entry for Options to confirm the options you set in the Sleep app and to set up a few more.
Apples Wind Down Is Better Than Its Sleep Tracking
Though Im not thrilled with the sleep tracking functionality, Apple did a nice job with a related set of watchOS 7 and iOS 14 features called Wind Down. Rather than just telling you how much you slept, Wind Down provides a holistic approach to weaning you off your phone at night, softly encouraging you to settle down before a full Do Not Disturb regime kicks in.
If you prefer to use apps to relax, you can create iOS shortcuts specific to settling down, such as turning on a music playlist or podcast, opening an app for reading or journaling, or accessing apps for yoga and meditation. These shortcuts will appear on the iPhones Lock Screen so youre reminded to use them, and you can also initiate a watchOS Wind Down sleep mode that begins however many minutes you prefer before your scheduled bedtime.
These kinds of features may seem simple to implement, but theyre actually thoughtful, OS-level integrations that show how sleep tracking functionality could become part of a larger sleep management experience for some users. I might want to keep using Wind Down even in the absence of sleep tracking.
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Best Sleep Tracker For Apple Watch
Looking for the best sleep tracker for Apple Watch? Follow the in-depth review guide to know which are the top rated and apple watch trackers on the app store.
If you are one of the many people who suffer from insomnia, infrequent night time sleep, or poor quality sleep then you need a good sleep tracker to help track your progress and determine the causes. If you do not track your sleep then it can be very hard to make improvements.
Sleep monitoring has become an important metric for many health enthusiasts. Using your Apple Watch along with one sleep monitoring apps can help you better track your sleep patterns.
Were often asked which Apple Watch apps are the best for monitoring sleep and tracking fitness. We also see lots of discussion across the internet with different people recommending different apps, but with limited unbiased testing to back up their choices. For this reason we decided to test a range of sleep tracking apps on the market for ourselves. In short, we found the best Apple Watch sleep tracker app was Sleep++.
Sleeping is like the third leg on the proverbial stool of life. . The only thing that lets you reboot your mind and body, sleeping is critical to physical and mental well-being. If youre a qualified Apple Watch user who wants to monitor your rest time using your wrist-worn device, then you have a lot of choices.
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If youre a more visual person and you prefer a minimalistic interface, or if you own a phone thats incompatible with SleepScore, Sleep Cycle can be helpful, though in a different way. Sleep Cycle doesnt provide customized sleep advice on your phone, nor does it provide an explanation for its graphs or terminology. In our tests, it offered less data than any of the other apps we tried, at least in terms of the specific stages of sleep. But its as intuitive as SleepScore to set up, and perhaps because of the limited data output, the resulting sleep reports are pretty easy to understand.
Sleep Cycles biggest win comes from how neatly it presents the sleep-lifestyle correlations on screen in comparison with the other apps we used. Simply tap the Trends button, andvoilà!any factors you typed in the night before, plus any Apple Health data, are automatically correlated with your sleep and shown in a way that even a third-grader could figure out. For instance: Compared with how Joanne slept at home in New York City, she slept worse when she was traveling for work, slightly better at her moms, and even better on vacation in the Catskills.
Unlike SleepScore, which works only with iPhones 6 or newer and certain Android phones, Sleep Cycle is compatible with all iPhones and Android phones.
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Does Apple Watch Track Your Sleeping
Using a process called actigraphy your tracker translates your wrist movements into sleep. However identifying your sleep quality is now out of the.
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Which App Is Best
AutoSleep and Pillow are both excellent choices. Neither one is free , but neither is expensive. Perhaps most importantly, both AutoSleep and Pillow are one-time purchases in this age of subscription-based apps, its nice to just buy something and own it.
Both apps gave me similar data about total sleep time, but their reports for how much good sleep I got or how long I spent in deep sleep were often wildly different. I get the feeling that they simply have different definitions of these things. What is more important is that theyre both pretty consistent, at least once you set them up properly and youve given the learning heuristics a week or two to figure out your sleep patterns.
I found Pillows basic information to be presented in a more appealing and easy to understand format, and its Apple Watch app and notifications are great. I like AutoSleeps charts for detailed information, but I honestly rarely drill down that deep. Pillows daily sleep summary notification includes a little graph, which I appreciate.
We still think Apple should provide its own sleep tracking in watchOS 6. Given all the ways Apple is using machine learning to build activity profiles, fall detection, and more, it seems like a natural fit. But until then, you can get a great third-party alternative for just a few bucks with either AutoSleep or Pillow.
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