Apple Reportedly Bringing Sleep Tracking to the Apple Watch

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Apple with 30 Comments

Apple could be planning a major new feature for the Apple Watch. The company is reportedly working on adding sleep tracking to its smartwatch, something which has been requested by customers for years now.

With the Apple Watch Series 4, Apple introduced an ECG functionality. And the company is planning to add sleep tracking to the Watch by 2020, according to a new report from Bloomberg.

Details about the new sleep tracking feature is pretty much a mystery for now, though Bloomberg says Apple has already started testing the sleep tracking feature with actual users. The company is apparently testing the sleep tracking functionality with testers at secret sites around its Cupertino headquarters.

Apple Watch already offers sleep tracking through third-party apps, though those are pretty limited because of problems with battery life. If Apple does bring sleep tracking to the Watch, the company would have to extend the battery life on the Apple Watch or offer sleep tracking through a low-power mode that is capable of tracking your sleep without hurting the device’s battery. The feature will likely integrate with iOS’ existing Bedtime feature through the Clock app.

It will be interesting to see exactly how advanced Apple’s sleep tracking feature is going to be on the Apple Watch. The company is likely going to introduce the Series 5 Apple Watch later this year, though whether the sleep tracking feature will be available on the new version is unknown for the time being.

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Comments (30)

30 responses to “Apple Reportedly Bringing Sleep Tracking to the Apple Watch”

  1. Angusmatheson

    Ok. I don’t be have a Fitbit so haven’t used sleep tracking. But I totally don’t get sleep tracking. Unless it detects sleep apnea, how does it help? If it says you have bad sleep, what do you really do? Go to sleep sooner? Drink less alcohol or caffeine before bed? How do people use this in real life to make their lives better?

    • bluvg

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      "You sleep like crap"

      "Thank you, Apple Watch!" :P

    • wright_is

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      It allows you to monitor your sleep patterns. And if your sleep is really as bad as you feel it is, you have some evidence when discussing it with your doctor.

      It was certainly of use to me. Through monitoring, adjusting food intake (eating earlier), adjusting other environmental influences (pillow, for example) and talking with my doctor. Being able to show him my sleep patterns helped to explain the problem and for him to actually see there was a problem.

      My average sleep pattern is now more normal and I sleep longer (up from 4 - 5 hours to 7 - 8 hours).

    • provision l-3

      In reply to Angusmatheson:

      This is my question. If i find out I don't spend enough time in deep sleep what am I supposed to do, sleep harder?

  2. jwpear

    If Apple brings sleep tracking, what reason do folks have to purchase the higher end Fitbit devices? I feel like this is potentially the nail in the coffin for Fitbit in that segment. Can they still make a go at it with low to mid-range trackers? There is certainly a place for dedicated fitness wearables, but I'm not sure the market is big enough to sustain Fitbit and the others. And it feels like Fitbit just doesn't have enough diversity of product to stay afloat.

    I have a Fitbit Blaze that's a little over two years old. It has been absolutely solid (compared to the Band 1 and 2) and still gets four days of battery life on a single charge with normal use and several days of workouts a week. There just haven't been enough new features in the Fitbit line to get me to move up to a newer device that's in the same class or better than the Blaze.

    I've looked at Apple Watch a few times since switching from a WP to iPhone, but that short battery life and lack of sleep tracking has been too much to overlook given my use. It will be interesting to see if Apple addresses both of my concerns with this new feature.

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to jwpear:

      Fitbit is cross-platform; it also has better battery life, as you mentioned.

    • SvenJ

      In reply to jwpear: My wife has both an Apple watch (series 4) and a Fitbit (Versa). She wears both. According to her the Fitbit does a much better job of tracking calories burned, steps, stairs and activity. So maybe that's a reason ;) She works with a trainer at a gym, and is pretty savvy about what she is doing and who it should count. The Apple watch falls short. If it is all you have, you can certainly use it for relative measurement, more than yesterday, not as much, but she's not impressed by the accuracy.
      She does love the Apple watch for the non-fitness aspects though, hence the two. She will leave the fitbit home for non gym outings, but not the Apple watch.

  3. maktaba

    The watch is looking gorgeous in that picture.

  4. mattbg

    Beside the battery life, isn't the watch kind of big to be comfortable to wear while you sleep?

    Maybe the feature doesn't involve wearing the watch.

    Hopefully it doesn't require wearing your Gen2 AirPods (which are rumoured to have some health intelligence) :)

    • Chris_Kez

      In reply to mattbg:

      I found it took about a day to get used to wearing an Apple Watch day and night; don't find it uncomfortable at all to wear to bed. The bigger adjustment for me was during exercise and having something clinging to my sweaty wrist; but that goes away too.

  5. wright_is

    Wow, I assumed the Apple Watch had sleep tracking from the beginning.

    Sleep tracking was one of the major reasons I bought my last 2 trackers. Given the average 10 day battery life and 1-2 hour recharge of my current watch, I find the sleep tracking very useful and easy to use.

    • jchampeau

      In reply to wright_is:

      For the very reason you mention--battery life--I don't see sleep tracking on Apple Watch being very usable. I have a current-gen Apple Watch with LTE and I can go two days between charges but never three days. It seems counterproductive to wake up and then take the thing off and charge it each day.

      • Chris_Kez

        In reply to jchampeau:

        I don't know, I don't finding the charging too onerous or complicated. I'll charge it while I shower and dress in the morning, or when I get home from work and I'm spending time with the kids; or else when I sit at my desk in the morning-- I'm usually planted for at least two hours every morning at the computer with my phone next to me. To each his own I suppose.

      • jwpear

        In reply to jchampeau:

        I have to imagine they will improve battery life while adding sleep tracking. I can't imagine having to charge it so frequently as you mention. It would get tedious if they did not improve.

        Sleep tracking is the biggest obstacle to my purchase of an Apple Watch behind battery life. I'd also miss the Fitbit "friendly" challenges, but I could get by without them.

  6. MikeGalos

    Given their very limited battery life, when are Apple suggesting that people charge their Apple Watch?

    Seriously, the reason they didn't do sleep tracking was that they needed to be charged every night. Even with a "low power mode" that just means they'll be able to go a full day between charges which means taking it off for a chunk of the day when you're being productive to charge your watch.

    • wright_is

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Sleep tracking and battery life were two key factors in my selection. My current watch does around 10 days between charges and tracks sleep fairly well.

    • cayo

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      I charge my Apple Watch in the evening, before going to bed. No problem if I forget to charge it as battery is good enough for two days (but not for three). If necessary, I have an extra portable keychain powerbank charger.

      I definitely need my watch on my wrist in bed (in 'theater mode' -- all alerts and screen turned off), both for sleep tracking and to wake me up in the morning. I use SleepWatch app for sleep tracking. Very happy with it.

    • billmcfa

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      I already use Autosleep to track my sleep with my Apple Watch. I charge it in the evening while I getting ready for bed and then in the morning while getting ready for the day. I often start the day at 100% charge.

  7. dontbe evil

    LOOOOL the best smartwatch evaaaaaaaa ... didn't have sleep tracking

  8. locust infested orchard inc

    I am of the opinion that the Apple Watch is probably the best product released by the Cupertino company.

    If by sleep tracking the Apple Watch performs the functionality of a EEG (not to be confused with an ECG), i.e. an electroencephalograph, then this Watch will be pretty remarkable.

    An electroencephalograph monitors the electrical activity in the brain via electrodes located on the scalp (so I dunno how the iØS Watch will pull this one off), and during sleep there are waves that oscillate at different frequencies. The three waves related to sleep are named as alpha waves, delta waves, and theta waves.

    The alpha wave activity occurs prior to the onset of falling asleep, and a disturbance in the periodic alpha wave activity suggests an underlying issue such as, restlessness, stress and worries, excitement of an imminent event, or a neurological problem.

    The delta waves are the lowest frequency brain waves that occur when one is in a state of deep sleep, while theta waves, with a slightly higher frequency range to that of delta waves, occurs throughout normal sleep.

    if the Apple Watch can monitor the wave activity during sleep, then it would enable one to identify at what times during the night the Watch owner has had the best quality sleep (i.e., deep sleep), and related to this would be when the Watch owner is likely to be having dreams.

    Overall, a physician analysing the data would be able to deduce the overall quality of sleep the Watch owner has had for any given night.

  9. provision l-3

    Apple also owns Beddit (bought like two years ago) which makes a sleep monitor strip that you put on your bed.

  10. SvenJ

    While battery life will be a critical requirement, quick charging will be even more important. Whether it lasts 24 hours, 48 or 72, you will still have to take it off to charge. If that takes more than an hour, you will be hard pressed to find a convenient time. For many it would be right as you get up. Put the watch on the charger while you shower, brush teeth, dress, maybe fix breakfast. Not much needs tracking at that time, but you need to be able to put a charged watch back on when you walk out the door. Except for Paul who just walks to another room.