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How To Get Apple Watch To Track Sleep

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What Is Apple Watch Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking on a smartwatch isnt new and Apple isnt trying to reinvent the wheel just yet. Samsung, Garmin, Fitbit, and others have been offering the ability to automatically track your time in bed and offer a range of different metrics and insights related to sleep. 

To put it simply, sleep tracking helps you understand not only how you sleep but also identify trends or factors that could be contributing to poor sleep quality for a single night or in general. Some of these insights can be viewed on the Apple Watch in the dedicated Sleep app, but most are found in a sleep subsection of the iOS Health app.

As already mentioned, there are a bunch of third-party Apple Watch sleep apps, which you will still see recommended to you in Apples Sleep app. This is the first time Apple has created something that uses both its smartwatch and iPhone to smarten up that bedtime experience.

We fully anticipate that Apples sleep tracking app will continue to evolve to enhance the metrics it records and the insights it will offer over the coming months and years.

The 3 Best Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Apps To Use Before Watchos 7 Arrives

The Apple Watch 6 and watchOS 7 are a pair prepared to bring sleep tracking mainstream, but that doesnt mean you need to wait until this fall to start monitoring the quality of your snooze. 

Apples own Sleep app has been in the pipeline since first-generation Apple Watch debuted,  Apple VP of Technology Kevin Lynch told CNET earlier this week. But as some Apple Watch users saw Fitbit and Garmin wearables supply sleep data, they turned to the watchOS App Store for software of their own. 

While the best sleep apps for smartphones strive to help adults get enough shuteye, using a smartwatch or fitness tracker can offer insights that a phone by your bedside cannot. Apples upcoming sleep tracking app, for example, will wield the Apple Watchs built-in accelerometer and heart rate sensor to detect subtle movements that signal respiration while users snooze.

When the public watchOS 7 beta launches later this month, well be going hands-on with the all-new Sleep app to see if our Apple Watch can help us establish better bedtime schedules. Well also take a look at how the Wind Down feature contributes to a more peaceful transition to dreamland. 

How To Set Up Sleep On Your Apple Watch In Watchos 7

Before you head to bed with your best Apple Watch band strapped around your wrist, you’ll need to actually launch the Sleep app and set it up. The first time you launch the Sleep app, you will be prompted through a ton of different screens to set up your sleep schedule. You’ll need to set what time you want to wake up and go to bed, set if you want an alarm, and what sound that alarm will make, and you’ll need to set up if you want sleep tracking and Wind Down enabled. It sounds like a lot, but the process is pretty straightforward here’s how you do it!

  • Launch the Sleep app on your Apple Watch.
  • Tap Next. You’ll need to scroll down to the bottom of the screen.
  • Adjust the time for your sleep goal by using the + and buttons.

  • Tap Done to finish setting up.

  • How To Track Sleep In The Apple Watch 5 Natively

    As noted earlier, the Apple Watch 5 comes with its sleep tracking mechanism, but it’s fairly basic. You can just see your sleep schedule, highlights, and the average time slept.

    To view it, head over to the All Health data app on your iPhone and scroll down until you see the Sleep option. Tap on to view the data.

    And yeah, you can switch between the week view and the month view as well.

    As mentioned above, this data is very basic and doesn’t give you in-depth information. For instance, you can’t check your sleeping heartbeat or the quality of your sleep.

    If you want to dive deep into your sleep routines and patterns, naturally you will need an app more capable than the basic app.

    We tried quite a few iOS apps, and the one we discovered to work well and provide the right balance of features and settings is the one named AutoSleep.

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    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 .

    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.

    Paid Membership: 1 Month Free Then $2999/year To Get Trend Data And Premium Features

    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.

    Best Sleep Trackers: Fitbit Withings And Top Sleep Monitors Compared

    Good quality sleep is linked to general health, mental wellbeing and even avoiding serious long-term illnesses, so using a sleep tracker to check youâre getting enough rest can be a genuine help.

    Wellness isnât just about doing cat yoga and drinking alt-milks, sometimes you just need a refreshing sleep.

    There are now plenty of different ways to track sleep, whether thatâs through a bedside monitor, a wrist-worn wearable like a smartwatch or a device that fits under your mattress.

    All will give slightly different insights and personalized tips on how to improve your rest time, but the options from our picks below are worth exploring if you want to know exactly how youâre sleeping and make positive steps to improve it.

    Weâll be breaking down what to look for in a sleep tracker, how it manages to track your sleep accurately and the best sleep gadgets to buy weâve tested them all so you donât have to.

    Update: This article was updated in August 2021 to reflect the addition of the Fitbit Luxe.

    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.

    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.

    How The Apple Watch Tracks Sleep

    Itâs rare that Apple lags far behind other brands, but Apple didnât have its own sleep app until recently: you had to use a third-party app, such as Pillow. 

    As of watchOS 7, however, you can track your sleep through Appleâs built-in Sleep app. Watch OS 7 works with the Apple Watch Series 3, 4 and 5, as well as the new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE. If you own one of the earlier versions, make sure your OS is updated. WatchOS 7 isnât compatible with the Series 1 or 2, though. 

    Once youâve set up sleep-tracking on your Apple Watch, the Sleep app can detect when and how youâre sleeping, based on your movement and your heart rate. You can use it to set sleep schedules and goals and request a wakeup alarm. You can also set a wind-down time, meaning the watch will go into Sleep Mode for a period in advance of you going to sleep. 

    To our own surprise, we werenât hugely impressed by the Apple Sleep app. Itâs crammed with information, but, aside from the heart rate information, not much of it is all that useful. Weâve tried many other watches that are easier to use for sleep-tracking while also providing for information. You wonât get information on sleep phases either although, as we explained, such data shouldnât be taken too literally anyway.

    If you were using Pillow before, you can continue to do so, if you prefer. 

    Check out our Apple Watch reviews, or head to our guide on choosing the best Apple Watch, to see how Apple fares in other respects. 

    Edit Your Sleep Schedule

    Best Apple Watch Apps For Sleep Tracking & Getting A Good ...

    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.

    Pay Attention To Your Lights

    Artificial lights can interfere with your sleep pattern.

    In our most primitive form, our body responds and adjusts to the amount of light and darkness we are exposed to. This is called the circadian rhythm and makes up our bodys internal clock.

    Blue light is especially harmful in the sense that it suppresses melatonin a hormone that prepares your body for sleep.

    This means that you have to be mindful of the lights in your room. A circadian LED bulb can imitate the seasonal day/night changes in our rooms and prep our body to how its supposed to naturally function.

    Since most of our digital devices such as smartphones and laptops emit blue light, you should have a blue light filter or night mode on.

    #7 Keep Your Internal Clock Set With A Consistent Sleep Schedule

    Having a regular sleep schedule helps to ensure better quality and consistent sleep.

    Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets the bodys âinternal clockâ to expect sleep at a certain time night after night. Try to stick as closely as possible to your routine on weekends to avoid a Monday morning sleep hangover. Waking up at the same time each day is the very best way to set your clock, and even if you did not sleep well the night before, the extra sleep drive will help you consolidate sleep the following night. Learn more about the importance of synchronizing the clock in The Drive to Sleep and Our Internal Clock.

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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.

    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.

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    As a seasoned health writer and editor with a special focus on mental health and well-being, Elizabeth Yuko understands how powerful stress-relieving activities can be for many peopleas well as the fact that theyre not one-size-fits-all. With decades of first-hand experience dealing with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, shes always on the lookout for new products, techniques, and services that can help people cope with stress and other mental health challenges.

    How Can You Make Sure Your Apple Watch Is Tracking Sleep

    Apples 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. Its 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.

    What About Battery Life

    Before you start tracking your sleep with Apple Watch, youll need to make a plan for when youll charge your watch. There are two primary options here: before bed or after you wake up in the morning. One key change for me has been at my desk rather than on my nightstand.

    For me, its much easier to charge before bed every night. I wake up and workout first most mornings, so I have to make sure my Apple Watch has enough battery for workout tracking. If I put my Apple Watch on the charger at around 8 p.m., after Ive already reached my stand goal for that day, it usually has a full charge by the time I head to bed at 9:30 p.m. And when I wake up in the morning, I almost always have more than 90% battery left more than enough to make it through the day.

    Plus, on the days when I need a mid-day recharge, having the on my desk makes that a lot easier.

    This works perfectly for me, but your routine is probably different than mine. The key is to come up with a plan that you can replicate every day. Whether thats charging in the morning or at night, or a combination of both, its a lot easier than you might think to change your Apple Watch charging habits.

    Of course, there is also always the option of repurposing an old Apple Watch as your dedicated sleep watch. 9to5Macs Zac Hall previously explained how to do that. You could also pick up a model to do this.

    Change Or Turn Off Your Next Wake

    Track Sleep Using Your Apple Watch and Pillow

  • Open the Sleep app on your Apple Watch.

  • Tap your current bedtime.

  • To set a new wake-up time, tap the wake-up time, turn the Digital Crown to set a new time, then tap Set.

    If you dont want your Apple Watch to wake you in the morning, turn off Alarm.

  • The changes apply only to your next wake-up alarm, after which your normal schedule resumes.

    Note: You can also turn off the next wake-up alarm in the Alarms app . Just tap the alarm that appears under Sleep | Wake up, then tap Skip for Tonight.

    How To Track Sleep In The Apple Watch 5

    Namrata Gogoi

    16 Aug 2020

    The has plenty of potential when it comes to tracking your movement or logging your runs and walks. With each iteration, Apple adds more functionalities to this smartwatch. And now, sleep tracking is one of the features to join the herd.

    Though you could track your sleep patterns before, Apple hasnt integrated these functions by default until watchOS7 and iOS 14. Although this feature does come in handy, it’s not impressive, at least for now.

    Hence, we thought of compiling two ways to track your sleep habits and patterns using the Apple Watch. The first one uses the native app, while in the second method, we explore a third-party app that gives a whole new meaning to sleep tracking.

    So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started.

    Also on Guiding Tech

    Change The Time And Which Days You Get A Reminder Or Alarm

  • Open the Clock app and tap the Bedtime tab.
  • Under Schedule, tap Bedtime or Wake up.
  • Drag the Bedtime button  or the Alarm button . As you drag, your Bedtime reminder and Wake Up alarm automatically update.
  • Under Days Of Week Active, tap the days that you want to get reminders or alarms. Days that are orange are active.
  • What Does It Track

    When you wear your Apple Watch to bed you’ll see a decent amount of data in the Apple itself. You’ll need to head to Sleep app on the Watch itself.

    Youll see your previous nights sleep duration, with a small graphic that outlines any wake ups.

    Youll also see a summary of sleep duration and consistency over the past 14 days and, when youve got a few nights of sleep under your belt, the Apple Watch will tell you if your sleep duration is increasing, decreasing or consistent.

    You can also view sleep data in the Health app.

    In the Sleep section you can see sleep data by week and month, and cycle back through time. This will also show your average time in bed and time asleep for the period.

    The iPhone will also estimate time asleep if you werent wearing your Apple Watch based on its usage. However, it stops tracking when your wake time kicks in, which makes the data look a little same-y.

    You can also see heart rate during bed time and have a look at your low and high HR.

    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.

    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. 

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