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How does the Apple Watch track sleep?

1264   |     /   IT

How does the Apple Watch track sleep?
The Apple Watch tracks sleep in the way that most smartwatches, fitness trackers and other wrist-worn wearables do. It makes use of the built-in accelerometer motion sensor, which has been present inside of the Apple Watch since the original.

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It uses that accelerometer motion sensor to identify the difference between when you’re active (walking around or awake in bed) and when you’ve eased down to sleep. Apple will then use its own algorithms to identify when you're unconscious and when you wake. 

You’ll also be asked to create an ideal sleep schedule that incorporates reminders when it’s time to start thinking about getting into bed and even includes a wind down mode that will let you launch soothing music, dimming lights or opening a meditation app to help you sleep. When it’s time to drift off, it will also turn on Do Not Disturb mode to prevent your screen from waking up.

In the morning, there’ll be wake up sounds to rouse you from your slumber. A glance at your wrist will give you a summary of your sleep time, the weather and your battery status, which is a subject we will get onto next.

What do you need to access the Apple Watch Sleep app?

You’ll need an Apple Watch that is capable of running watchOS 7, the last major software update set to roll out for Apple’s smartwatch. You’ll 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:
Apple Watch 3
Apple Watch 4
Apple Watch 5
Apple Watch 6
Apple Watch SE

So if you’ve got an original Apple Watch or a Series 1 or 2 model, you’re sadly out of luck here. 


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 hasn’t changed since the first Watch. Any battery improvements have been canceled out by features like the Apple Watch 5’s 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 don’t, the Watch will prompt you to charge before going to bed. When it’s got enough juice, your phone will alert you that it’s ready to join you in bed. In our time we found that sleep tracking sucked up around 20% battery on average, so it’s definitely going to impact how much battery you’re left with in the morning.

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