How To Track Sleep: Apple Watch Edition
Tracking your sleep can be an effective way to understand the links between lifestyle and health.
A month ago, I published an article and video on sleep tracking for Android Wear . This is the Apple Watch counterpart.
Apples superior app ecosystem extends to tracking sleep. There are multiple solid choices for sleep tracking using solely your iPhone or with your iPhone paired to an Apple Watch.
In general, a wrist-mounted device provides more accurate sleep motion recordings than a phone placed near you in bed. In this post, I focus on apps that work with Apple Watch.
**Updated 2018/08/15 to reflect the new automatic sleep-tracking capability of Pillow.
How To Activate Sleep Tracking In Watchos 8
Apple introduced Sleep in watchOS 7 that you can use to activate sleep tracking on your Apple Watch. Youll be able to use the Sleep app in watchOS 8.
You can plan your resting periods and use your Apple Watch to monitor your sleep cycles. This can help you create routines and achieve your slumber goals.
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.
You May Like: Medical Opinion For Sleep Apnea Aggravated By Ptsd
What Do You Need To Access The Apple Watch Sleep App
Youll need an Apple Watch that is capable of running watchOS 7, the last major software update set to roll out for Apples smartwatch. Youll 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 youve got an original Apple Watch or a Series 1 or 2 model, youre sadly out of luck here.
How To Set A Sleep Schedule On Apple Watch
Recommended Reading: Nyquil Or Zzzquil
How To Track Your Sleep With The Apple Watch
Struggling to sleep? Or Getting too much? Find out with the Apple Watch’s handy sleep tracking function
ByJennifer Allenlast updated 27 August 21
Sleep is a vital part of our daily lives. Deprive your sleep pattern and you’ll end up less productive the following day and possibly even feeling a bit low.
As one of the best ways in which we can keep ourselves healthy, it’s useful to be able to track how well you sleep. Before you invest in one of today’s best sleep trackers, you should know that Apple Watches can do that for you, too. Below, we’ve explained everything you need to know about how to track your sleep with the Apple Watch.
What Data Does Sleep Tracking Monitor
Its not clear yet what specific data will be monitored by the sleep tracking feature on watchOS 8. However, Apple has revealed that it will use machine learning to monitor your sleep motion from the wrist.
Further, it will keep track of micromovements, such as the rise and fall of your breath, to assess the quality of your sleep. The focus will be on promoting better sleep hygiene rather than merely providing data insights.
watchOS 8 introduces monitoring of sleeping respiratory rate, or how many breaths you take per minute while asleep. You can see how your personal insights trend looks on the Health app.
Recommended Reading: Garmin Vivoactive 4s Sleep Tracking
How To Track Sleep
Sleep tracking is like a sleep recorder using your own bodys signals. Our company, Bodymatter, built the very first Sleep App to transform the Apple Watch into an automated sleep tracker Sleep Watch. As an apple watch sleep tracker, SleepWatch lets you simply wear your Apple Watch to bed and effortlessly wake up to insightful sleep details. SleepWatch is like a sleep coach on your wrist, it learns your routine and offers suggestions to help you improve. You can add this feature to your Apple Watch by downloading Sleep Watch from the Apple App Store. Sleep Watch is free to download and use. WatchOS 6 ready.
Setting Up The Jawbone Up2
Setting up the Jawbone UP2 is supposed to be a simple process:
I plugged in my Jawbone UP2 and the LEDs lit up as described in the sparse documentation that comes with the device. I didnt immediately pair the UP2 with my iPhone, but instead, I let it charge for an hour.
Pairing the tracker didnt work as the app couldnt find a nearby UP device. The following troubleshooting steps didnt resolve the problem either:
- Disable and re-enable Bluetooth on my iPhone
- Restart iPhone
- Delete and re-install Jawbone UP app
- Try to link tracker to my wifes iPhone
- Attempt soft-reset of tracker
It turned out, my Jawbone UP2 froze and couldnt even be reset using the method described in the support article. After I had spent an hour trying to get the Jawbone UP2 to work, I gave up. I was annoyed and wanted to return the band to Amazon.
The next morning I decided to give it another shot, and to my surprise, the soft reset worked, and I could pair the tracker to my iPhone.
You May Like: Cfr 38 Insomnia
Sleep Cycle & Apple Watch Integration
Our integration with Apple Watch for iPhone is here! Is the Watch stand alone?Yes. You dont need to engage with your phone at all, as you go to bed and wake up with the Watch. The Watch analyses your sleep during the night, wakes you up at the time youve set and then transfers the analysis to your phone. You can view the nights analysis on your phone, whenever you feel like it.
Does the Watch sleep analysis transfer to my phone?Yes. Isnt it lovely? Just use your Watch as you sleep and the analysis shifts to your phone, when you wake up. Sometimes, it might take a while, but youll be notified when its done.
Alarm modes on the Watch appThe “No alarm, only sleep analysis” option is not available on the Watch at this point in time due to restrictions within the Watch OS. But if this changes, we will hopefully be able to implement this as well.
Do you record snoring when using the Watch?When using the Watch app, we will not be able to detect snoring as we analyze your sleep via movements, detected via the accelerometer in the watch. If you want to detect snoring, you will have to stick to the phone app for now.
Whats the battery drain then?Not much. 10-15%, depending on what else is going on in your Watch during the night.Why no complication?So far, we got no strong use case for it. But Watch development will continue and a solid complication is part of it.
Starting A Sleep Session With Alarms Sleep Aid And Audio Recordings
To start a sleep session with alarm, sleep aid and sound recordings:
Open Pillow on the iPhone, keep it open and do not press any buttons
Open Pillow on your Apple watch and swipe right to access your preset modes
Select your preferred sleep mode and tap Start
Once Pillow has started recording, place your iPhone within arms reach to ensure that the sound recording feature will function properly
Keep the Apple Watch on your wrist during sleep session
It is also highly recommended that you fully charge your Apple Watch before starting a sleep session
Recommended Reading: Lexapro Help Sleep
Best For Extra Features: Pillow
Best results when paired with an Apple Watch
Reviews state there is a recent reduction in the app functionality
Pillow, the sleep app by NeyBox Digital Ltd., has an average rating of 4.3 stars on the App Store and can be used to automatically track sleep. This sleep tracker app is compatible with an Apple Watch, but it can also be used in manual mode. We liked that this app offers the option of enabling audio recordings while you sleep, which is helpful for those who suspect that snoring or talking in their sleep is disrupting their sleep cycle. The sleep analysis includes a sleep cycle diagram and heart rate analysis, and it displays trends over time. Pillow regularly updates sleep tips to help you fall asleep and stay asleep and personalizes your insights over time.
Pillow is only available for iOS and costs $4.99 a month, $12.99 for three months, and $39.99 for a year. A one-week free trial is available. It is only available on iOS, but it syncs with the Apple Health app so you can have all your data in one place. If youre using it without an Apple Watch, you must input what time you fall asleep and what time you wake up, which can lead to inaccurate measurements.
The Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker App
Unlike AutoSleep, the data in the Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker doesnt overload your sleepy eyes first thing in the morning. Instead, you see a circular graph that shows the duration and quality of your sleep. You also see a smaller bar graph with measurements of your awake time, REM, and light and deep sleep states tap the graph to enlarge it.
You can only access most of this apps main features with a subscription so you might prefer either the AutoSleep or Sleep++ apps.
However, if you want to access more features in the Pillow app, you can pay monthly , every three months , or annually .
Heres what you unlock with a subscription:
- Complete access to sleep history data and audio recordings
- Heart rate analysis
- The ability to use a wake-up sound from your iTunes library
- The ability to link stats to Runkeeper
- The ability to export data
- A Snooze Lab with tips, experiments, achievements, and more
To activate the premium features, tap the sleep potion icon in the top-left corner of the app. A screen then appears prompting you to select one of the three subscription options.
You can also subscribe by tapping the gear icon in the bottom-left corner of the app. On the following screen, tap Pillow Premium under Premium Features.
Unfortunately, the annual subscription is the only plan with a seven-day free trial.
To access the setup wizard, tap on the gear icon, and then tap Setup Wizard.
Tap Next to continue.
Tap Finish to complete the wizard.
Don’t Miss: Sleep Insomnia Va Rating
The Autosleep Tracker App
The AutoSleep Tracker app tracks your sleep in two ways. If you wear your Apple Watch to bed, the app automatically calculates your sleep if you dont, the app calculates your sleep based on the time you didnt wear the device, and when you first access your iPhone the following morning.
The initial setup process asks if you wear an Apple Watch to bedjust tap Yes or No.
To change this setting later in the AutoSleep app, tap Settings in the bottom-right corner.
Before you use AutoSleep, youll want to configure it here, as well. To do so, tap Settings and, on the following screen, scroll down to the Configure section and tap Wizard.
Here, you see two toggles: I Wear My Watch to Bed and Want to Track Sleep Quality and If I Dont Wear My Watch to Bed I Want to Track My Sleep Based on the Time the Watch Was Not Worn.
You already set the first option in the initial setup process, but you can change it here. If you dont wear your Watch to bed, enable the other toggle, and the app will track your sleep based on the time youre not wearing your Watch.
Tap OK to continue.
On the next screen, you can set a night hour, which is the hour before you close your eyes for the night. It only offers one-hour increments between 5 p.m. and 12 a.m. The idea is to help you keep a positive sleep bank and force yourself to stick with a consistent sleep schedule.
Tap OK to continue.
Tap OK to continue.
Tap OK to complete the wizard.
Flaws But Not Dealbreakers
As of February 2021, SleepScore works only on specific phones. It doesnt work with the iPhone 5, 5s, and SE but is compatible with any iPhone with iOS software 10.3.3 or higher . As for Android phones, it works with the Samsung Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note 8, and Note 9, as well as the Google Pixel 2 XL.
When we asked the company about this limitation, the representative explained that because the app is dependent on a phones speaker and microphone, the company tests the app on each specific phone model for accuracy before supporting that phone. SleepScore says that if youre using an unsupported Android model, you will still be able to track your sleep using that device, but the SleepScore app features and functionality will vary. We also wonder whether this failure to update may open up any security issues on non-compatible phones. To be safe, we think its best for those with incompatible phones to skip SleepScore and try our also-great pick, Sleep Cycle, instead. Android users who dont mind a wonky interface could try Sleep as Android, which contains cool features but is difficult to navigate.
We also wished that the app could track snoring by itself, like Sleep Cycle, Pillow, and Sleep as Android can. However, SleepScore Labs does make a companion app to track snoring called Do I Snore or Grind?, which based on our limited testing seemed more sensitive, and possibly more accurate.
Recommended Reading: How Does Garmin Track Sleep
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 placing an extra Apple Watch charger 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 extra Apple Watch charger 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 used or refurbished older Apple Watch model to do this.