Garmin Sleep Tracking Guide: How To Track Your Bedtime
A good nights sleep is the foundation of health, fitness and wellbeing. The quantity and quality of the zzz’s we get has a huge impact on everything from our stress levels and mental health to body composition and weight. It even affects our emotional intelligence and decision making, and can hamper our efforts to make fitness gains.
Its no surprise then that in recent years all the major fitness tracker, sports watch and smartwatch makers have ramped up their sleep-tracking credentials in a bid to help us better understand our sleep patterns.
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Among them is Garmin. For a long time its rudimentary sleep tracking was frankly not worth paying much attention to. But in 2018, Garmin launched its Advanced Sleep Monitoring features, and finally made a bid to catch up with the likes of Fitbit. Watches like the Forerunner 245, Fenix 5 and Vivosmart 4 started to deliver detailed insights into our bedtime habits and offer a more holistic view of our fitness.
So how does this latest version of Garmin sleep tracking work? And whats the best way to get the most out of it? Heres everything you need to know.
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How To Use The Sleep Watch App
We recommend scheduling Do Not Disturb to turn on automatically during your typical sleeping hours to prevent any Watch notifications from disturbing you during sleep. This can be done in the iPhone Watch App > My Watch > General > Do Not Disturb section. We also recommend enabling ‘Theatre Mode‘ while asleep to keep your Watch screen dark until waking.
Features You Can Use Without Apple Watch
The actual sleep tracking feature that measures how long you’ve slept is limited to the Apple Watch, but all of the other related features like Sleep Mode and Wind Down are available even if you don’t have a watch.
As mentioned up above, you can get started setting these up in the Health app. Just open up the Health app, tap Browse, scroll down to Sleep, and then tap it. From there, tap on “Get Started” to set parameters that include a sleep goal, a schedule, and an alarm.
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Update Next Wake Up Only
You can also adjust your sleep schedule for the next day from the Clock app.
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.
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Data Tracking With Pillow
At the end of a sleep session, Pillow will tell you the number of hours you slept. Swipe down the screen to see the quality of sleep, both for the previous night and past nights. Swipe further to see how much time you spent in each cycle of sleep and how long you were in bed versus how long you were asleep.
You can also launch Pillow on your iPhone to run it from there or just see what data it records and how it works with your Apple Watch.
In the settings for Pillow on your iPhone, you can opt to always sync the data with the Health app, or you can manually sync it by tapping the Sync button in the Apple Watch app. After the data has synced, open the Health app and segue to the section for Sleep. By default, the app shows all data from any sleep app for which you’ve given permission.;
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Accuracy Is A Positive
The biggest positive I noted is a sense developed over time and in consultation with others who have been testing the feature that Apples sleep tracking data is mostly correct, even if theres not much of it. My Watch appears to be properly extrapolating whether Im asleep rather than just in bed based on sensor data, including some lack of movement, certain wrist positioning information, heartbeat scans, and perhaps external factors. The aqua bars and gaps lined up temporally with my nightly sleeping recollections, down to roughly the minute I fell asleep. Two friends and my kids have all had the same experience.
As a father, Im already fretting when I see multiple brief interruptions in my kids sleep bars when theyre sleeping at another location. If this is the future of health tracking, I can imagine several reasons Apple and clinicians, including privacy-concerned ones might be concerned about presenting too much data, now and going forward. But in a health setting, users should have the ability to choose how much data they feel comfortable seeing, rather than being told that little or no data is being presented to shield them.
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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 complete the wizard.
How Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Works
Apple’s sleep tracking integrates with the existing Bedtime feature on the iPhone’s Clock app , so you turn it on and create a schedule.
Before your allocated bedtime you’ll be ‘prepared’ for sleep with a wind-down time while your Apple Watch becomes dimmed and locked – your Watch is now in ‘Sleep Mode’.
Do Not Disturb is automatically turned on but you can disable this either when you set up Sleep or afterwards.;
You can also choose whether or not to have charging reminders – the watch will warn you within an hour of bedtime if you have less than 30 percent charge.
If you have a Series 4 or 5 you’ll almost certainly be OK to go through the night if you charged for a bit during the day at some point. With Series 3, you will need to fully charge in the day to last the night.;
In Sleep Mode, you need to turn the digital crown to unlock the watch just as you do when you step out of water after swimming. We actually find this a bit irritating when we need to get up in the night and use the torch, for example.;
You can disable Sleep Mode if you want, but this won’t track sleep. You can also opt out of sleep tracking entirely, even if you have Sleep Mode enabled.;
You can access Sleep options and tracking in various places, which is somewhat confusing at first but does make sense because it ties several things together. So:;
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How Does Garmin Sleep Tracking Work
In the past, Garmin devices used movement tracked by motion sensing accelerometers and heart rate, using the built-in optical heart rate sensor, to analyse your sleep.
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But Advanced Sleep Monitoring now also factors in heart rate variability the time between each heartbeat to better measure your time awake and time spent in each sleep stage.
In order to assess whether youre awake reading, asleep or up for a 3am toilet break, and which stage of sleep youre in while you slumber, Garmin uses a combination of analysis of photoplethysmography and actigraphy data. That takes into account the following:
- Changes in heart rate; your heart rate data is more erratic in REM sleep and lower in non-REM sleep, for example.
- Changes in heart rate variability; a rise in HRV can indicate your body is in a stressful situation even when youre asleep.
- Movement spotted by the accelerometer.
Your sleep clock is triggered to start when you get into bed and your heart rate drops to the levels the watch knows you sleep at. Based on your HRV this becomes more accurate the longer you wear the watch.
Other things that might affect the accuracy include stress, sleepwalking or if youve drunk alcohol, where your heart rate is raised and youre potentially moving a lot.
Paid Membership: 7 Days Free $399/month Or $2999/year To Gain Access To Better Analysis
SleepWatch provides the most data of any of the tested apps, but you’ll have to buy a membership to make the most of it, as well as receive heart rate comparisons and comprehensive sleep analyses. The paid membership will give you a numeric value for your quality of sleep think of it as your sleep credit score!
You’ll also get data based on your sleep patterns, a ratio of light-to-restful sleep, and your heart rate. You can view this data on your Apple Watch, as well as on the mobile app.
You can set your sleep goal and adjust the sensitivity of the sleep detection. The Smart Bedtime Reminder is another paid feature that will remind you to go to sleep at a certain time to improve your sleep rhythm.
If you love to analyze data and see how changing your lifestyle can affect your sleep, then this is the app for you.
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Change Sleep Sensitivity Settings
There is a sleep sensitivity setting in the Fitbit app. The default option is the normal setting.;
Try changing the sleep sensitivity setting from normal to sensitive or vice versa.
Change Fitbits sleep sensitivity settings on Apple devices like iPhone and iPad
For folks using older app versions, follow step 1, then tap;Advanced Settings;>;Sleep;Sensitivity.
Change Fitbits sleep sensitivity settings on Android devices
The Fitbit app for Android does not currently offer a way to change sleep sensitivity within the app, so you need to use your online dashboard to make this change.
Fitbits normal vs. sensitive sleep setting explained
The normal setting only counts significant movements such as rolling over.
The sensitive setting records nearly all your movements as time spent restless or awake.
What Is A Sleep Score
Your sleep score helps you understand your sleep each night to see trends in your sleep patterns.
This detailed look into your sleeping patterns can help you develop healthier sleep habits.
Factors such as caffeine, alcohol, stress, illness, or other actions can impact your sleeping heart rate.
Sleep score is designed to give users an easy-to-understand summary of their sleep quality.
While sleep score is a good feature, it is not an FDA-approved diagnostic tool for diagnosing sleep disorders.
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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.
Do I Need Fitbit Premium To See Sleep Scores
No, you dont need Premium to see sleep scores.
Users who pay for the Premium subscription program get more detailed about their sleep score, e.g., a detailed breakdown of restoration score, which looks at an additional metric: your sleeping resting heart rate.
Your sleeping heart rate is generally lower than your daytime resting heart rate.
This Fitbit premium-only score helps you understand how restful your sleep was determined by the differences between your sleeping heart rate and your daytime resting heart rate.
Premium users also get an analysis of both sleep duration and;access to Fitbits Guided Programs for better sleep.;
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Is Bluetooth Turned On
This is a special a requirement if you use Pillow in Automatic mode. Automatic mode in Pillow relies on Apple Watch sensor data that get transmitted from the Apple Watch to the iPhone via Bluetooth or Wifi. This process is handled entirely by watchOS automatically. Sometimes it might take 2-10 minutes to transmit all required data from the Apple Watch to the iPhone, especially if the Apple Watch is low on battery.
All Features On Apple Watch
The smart alarm sets just by Apple Watch. You can check the detailed sleep analysis on Watch too.
Add the widget to home screen and quickly check your last sleep diagram, score and details.
Learn more about healthy sleep practices by taking the assessment and set yourself up for better sleep.
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