Sat. Aug 24th, 2019

How to track your sleep with an Apple Watch

How to track your sleep with an Apple Watch

  • Apple doesn’t currently offer their own sleep-tracking app for the Apple Watch or iPhone.
  • You can download an Apple Watch sleep app from the App Store that will use a combination of your movement and heart rate to monitor your sleep.
  • We tested four of the top sleep apps over several days to give you the information you need.

Life can be exhausting, and when you’re not getting a good night’s sleep, it’s hard to be productive, balance your emotions, and stay healthy. We all know the importance of eating right and exercising, but sleep is just as key to promoting a healthy and happy life.

Just as you track your steps or count your calories, you should be keeping tabs on your sleep routine. But unfortunately, the Apple Watch doesn’t come equipped with a sleep tracker.

While we patiently wait for Apple to add that functionality to their Health App, you can try downloading one of the four apps below (all available on the App Store).

We tested out all four in order to provide accurate reviews of each.

AutoSleep

Cost to download: $2.99

Paid membership: No

AutoSleep offers a super quick setup — you don’t even need to make an account. Perfect for people who like to lay in bed and watch TV or read a book, AutoSleep requires you to tell the app that you’re going to sleep (through its Lights Off function). In other words, a six-hour, unmoving Netflix binge will never trick it into thinking you’ve fallen asleep. You can activate Lights Off directly from your Apple Watch and track how long it takes you to fall asleep.

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You can view your sleep session on a graph that plots how deep your sleep was, as well as your heart rate against time. It will show the peaks and troughs in your sleep that indicate when you woke up and when you were in sound slumber.

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The sleep rings show your time asleep, your time having quality sleep, your time in deep sleep, and your sleeping heart rate. You can set goals for each of these, and the rings will compare with your goals, letting you know how well you’ve done.

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There’s also a feature to show your sleep bank for the week. This is based on you getting a full eight hours a night. If you sleep less, you’ll go into debt, and if you sleep more, you’ll have extra credit.

Overall, AutoSleep provides a decent amount of data and you can compare day-to-day to see how your lifestyle affects your sleep. For the one-off charge of $2.99, it’s a great value.

Sleep++

Cost to download: Free

Paid membership: No

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.

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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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Sleep Cycle:

Cost to download: Free

Paid membership: 1 month free, then $29.99/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 (using haptic vibrations on your watch) 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 get a 1-month trial to test it out first!), 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.

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SleepWatch

Cost to download: Free

Paid membership: 7 days free, $2.99/month or $24.99/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!

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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.

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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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