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 youre 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.
Sleep Tracking With Watchos 7
Apple finally added the long-awaited sleep-tracking feature 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.
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.
View Your Sleep History
In the morning, wake up to an informative greeting, then review your nights rest and compare it to the rest of the week. To view your sleep history, open the Sleep app on your Apple Watch and scroll down to review your data. For more stats, like weekly and monthly averages, or to find out how your heart rate fluctuated throughout the night, access the app on your paired .
How We Picked And Tested
When it comes to sleep-tracking apps, its easy to get caught up in the functional details. But the ultimate goal isnt to track your sleep perfectly its to track trends in your sleep so that you can better understand and improve it. To make that happen, several other features are also crucial in a tracking app. Heres what we looked for in the apps, in order of importance:
It was impossible to test all of the sleep apps on the iTunes store and Google Play, so we started by choosing the most downloaded apps that also had ratings of more than four out of five stars. Then we confirmed that in addition to keeping our data secure, the apps could export that data . We also sent out a few emails to customer support to see how responsive the companies were. In the end, we selected four apps to test: Pillow, Sleep as Android, Sleep Cycle, and SleepScore.
In 2018, Joanne spent eight days testing all four apps at the same time , and tested some of them individually for a few days. She also compared the four apps while wearing fitness bands and a couple of apps on the Apple Watch on the same wrist, to find out if buying a phone app is necessary if you already have a wearable fitness tracker.
The apps presented the results, as you can see here from one typical night, in a variety of ways.
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Starting Sleep Tracking With Apple Watch
To get started with sleep tracking for watchOS, users can jump into the new Sleep app on the wrist-worn computer or into the Health app of their iOS 14-equipped iPhone. We opted for the latter.
When you go to the sleep category of the Health app, there is a new option to set your bedtime schedule. First, you can enable sleep mode. Sleep mode simplifies your Lock Screen at your scheduled Bedtime and will turn on Do Not Disturb to reduce interruptions.
The app will then suggest you enable Wind Down. The idea is that your nighttime routine can begin prior to your bedtime, before you go to sleep. Sleep mode is when you’re actually sleeping and Wind Down is everything leading up to that. You choose how much before your bedtime you want to start Wind Down. This can be between 15 minutes and three hours.
What Wind Down will do is help with those routines as you get ready for bed while reducing the screen time on your phone. It simplifies your Lock Screen, just showing the time, your alarm and any Shortcuts or apps you may use. Create a Shortcut to listen to a relaxing podcast, play your nighttime music playlist, or start your two-minute teeth brushing timer. Whatever you do before bed can be added here.
Finally, Health will ask if you want to track your sleep with Apple Watch. You then get your summary of everything you set up including your schedule and features enabled.
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 .
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Who Should Get This
Everyone sleeps, but sleep trackers arent for everyone. Personal sleep tracking is a new sciencethe app makers havent nailed accurate readings yet, and the apps are often not great at telling a typical user what to do with the results. In fact, as W. Chris Winter, MD, author of The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep Is Broken and How to Fix It, said, quoting a pessimistic colleague, The best thing that trackers have allowed us to do is admire our problems.
We wouldnt say we like admiring our problems, but we do like to know where we standand, considering the popularity of health trackers, plenty of other people feel the same way. As a result, sleep-tracking apps work best for people who are only casually looking for clues as to how they might sleep better at night and emerge the next day feeling energized.
If youre an elite athlete, a marine officer, or an airline pilot for whom sleep analysis could make or break your career, these apps are not for you. If you think you might have sleep apnea and are hoping that your phone will save you from a night in a sleep clinic, these apps are also not for you.
Everyone sleeps, but sleep trackers arent for everyone.
How Sleep Trackers Work
Tracking sleep at home is hard. In fact, its like trying to track an earthquake, said Thomas Penzel, PhD, research director of the Interdisciplinary Center of Sleep Medicine at Charité University in Berlin. Just as you cant sit inside the earth and watch tectonic plates shift, you cant directly peer into your own brain as youre sleeping. So you need proxies. In a sleep lab, scientists use medical-grade equipment and sensors to record brain activity, eye movements, body movements, heart rate, oxygen intake, and more. This process, called polysomnography, is the most reliable method of sleep tracking.
Unfortunately, the sleep trackers designed and currently available for home use cant read brain waves and eye movements, which most reliably track stages of sleep, so instead they guesstimate based on less accurate signs. The current technologies include the following:
Movement tracking: Accelerometersmore commonly used to measure sleep in fitness trackers and other wearables than in phone appsinterpret stillness as sleep and movement as wakefulness. But an accelerometer is not very accurate when you use one alone because it may perceive you as being asleep when youre merely lying still staring at the ceiling. And if you toss and turn a lot in your sleep, the accelerometer will register that youre awake. Thats why sleep tracking typically pairs movement tracking with other technologies, such as optical heart-rate monitoring.
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Edit Your Sleep Schedule On Your Apple Watch
If you need to update your sleep schedule, you can make changes to your full schedule or for Next Wake Up Only. With Next Wake Up Only, the changes you make apply only to the following day. Changes made to your full schedule apply to all future days.
If you’re up before your scheduled Wake Up time, you can exit sleep mode. Turn the Digital Crown to unlock your Apple Watch. Then swipe up to open Control Center and tap the Sleep app icon.
How To Activate Sleep Tracking In Watchos 7
Apple is introducing a new Sleep App in watchOS 7 that you can use to activate sleep tracking on your Apple Watch.
You can plan out your sleep and use your Apple Watch to monitor your sleep cycles. This can help you create routines to achieve your sleep goals.
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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.
Native Apple Watch Sleep Tracking
With the release of watchOS 7 last year, Apple Watch now officially supports sleep tracking without needing a third-party application.
We went hands-on with the experience when it was released, explaining that Apple is tying Apple Watch sleep-tracking capabilities in with new iPhone features such as Wind Down and Wake Up for a seamless cross-device experience.
Theres a new Sleep app on the Apple Watch, as well as a Sleep Mode that hides your usual watch face and instead shows the current time, as well as what time your alarm is set for. It also disables features like raise-to-wake, so your watch face isnt lighting up in the middle of the night.
To view the sleep data tracked by your Apple Watch, you can go to the Sleep app on Apple Watch or the Health app on iPhone. The actual data here is limited. Apple simply shows you your time asleep, as well as a range for your heart rate. Thats where third-party applications still prove useful. They can offer much more data than Apples native implementation, and you dont have to wait until the fall to get started.
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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 hasnt changed since the first Watch. Any battery improvements have been canceled out by features like the Apple Watch 5s 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 dont, the Watch will prompt you to charge before going to bed. When its got enough juice, your phone will alert you that its ready to join you in bed. In our time we found that sleep tracking sucked up around 20% battery on average, so its definitely going to impact how much battery youre left with in the morning.
Paid Membership: No But Offers In
Sleep++ is the most basic of the available sleep apps, but it’s free to download and has no hidden extra costs. You can choose to have your sleep tracked in auto mode or manual mode.
Auto mode will automatically track your sleep, using your movements or lack thereof to know when you’re in dreamland. If you use manual mode, you’ll have to tell the app when you’re going to sleep and when you wake up.
Press “Start Sleeping” and then “Stop Sleeping” on your Apple Watch or in the iPhone app.
You won’t get much data from this app, just one bar showing you how deep your sleep was. However, it’s totally free and a great place to start your sleep-tracking routine.
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Best Sleep Apps For The Apple Watch
Sleep tracking is a great way to gain insight into your sleeping habits and even though Apple didnt have a sleep tracking app for the Apple Watch for years, they finally released their own sleep app as part of watchOS7.
While the native Apple Watch app works similarly to third-party sleep apps, some features are still not available, so many users choose to install another app to track their sleeping habits on the Apple Watch.
When choosing a sleep app for the Apple Watch, you should look into multiple factors, including the ease of use, impact on battery life, and the way it monitors your sleep. Some apps can monitor the ambient noise while you sleep, whereas others can even calculate your stress level by taking into account various metrics.
Lets have a look at the best sleep apps for the Apple Watch.
How The Apple Watch Tracks Sleep
Apple Watch chief Kevin Lynch explains the company’s sleep approach in a conversation with CNET.
Sleep tracking on WatchOS 7 is overdue, and it’s starting with bedtime guidance.
It’s been almost five years since I first had a sleep study done at home. I put wires all over my face, wore a pulse oximeter on my finger and confirmed I had sleep apnea. I’ve used a CPAP machine ever since, and I’ve been interested in understanding how well I sleep and how to improve my rest. I’ve tried tons of watches, bed sensors and apps. Of all the smartwatches I’ve tried, the Apple Watch was conspicuously the only one that seemed to lack its own onboard sleep tracking.
While sleep tracking was possible using other Apple Watch apps, Apple never entered the space formally, despite purchasing sleep-tech company Beddit in 2017. That’s changed with WatchOS 7, unveiled last week at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. It adds sleep tracking as an onboard feature, but you might be surprised at what sleep tracking on Apple’s watch does and doesn’t do.
Apple’s Wind Down feature on the iOS 14 is part of the Apple Watch’s sleep experience, too.
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