Tracking sleep with Apple Watch is a great way to get a new look at your sleep habits and trends over time. In fact, with the release of watchOS 7 this fall, Apple will officially offer native sleep tracking support for the first time. But if you don’t want to wait until fall to start sleep tracking with your Apple Watch, a handful of incredibly powerful third-party apps have made it to the App Store. Read on as we put together the best sleep tracking apps for Apple Watch
Native Apple Watch Sleep Tracking
With the release of watchOS 7 this fall, Apple Watch will officially support sleep tracking without the need for a third-party app. watchOS 7 will be available to public beta users next month. This is the first time that Apple has offered a public beta version of watchOS 7. A public stable version will happen this fall, Apple says.
We started with the experience earlier this week, explaining that Apple is pairing Apple Watch’s sleep tracking capabilities with new iPhone features like Wind Down and Wake Up for a seamless cross-device experience.
There is a new sleep app on the Apple Watch, as well as a sleep mode that hides the usual watch face and instead displays the current time and the time the alarm is set. It also disables features like wake up, so the watch face doesn’t light up in the middle of the night.
To view sleep data on your Apple Watch, you can go to the Sleep app on Apple Watch or the Health app on iPhone. The actual data here is limited. Apple simply shows you your sleep time, as well as a range for your heart rate. That’s where third-party apps are still useful. They can offer much more data than Apple’s native implementation, and you don’t have to wait until fall to get started.
What about the battery life?
Before you start tracking your dream with Apple Watch, you’ll need to make a plan for when you charge your watch. Here are two main options: before bed or after getting up in the morning. A key change for me has been putting an additional Apple Watch charger on my desk instead of on my nightstand.
For me, it is much easier to charge before bed every night. I get up and head straight to the gym most mornings, so I have to make sure my Apple Watch has enough battery power to track my workout. If I put my Apple Watch in the charger around 8pm, after I’ve reached my booth goal for that day, it usually has a full charge when I go to bed at 9:30 pm and when I get up in the morning, I almost always have more than 90% battery left, more than enough to get through the day.
This works perfectly for me, but your routine is probably different from mine. The key is to come up with a plan that you can replicate every day. Whether it’s charging in the morning or at night, or a combination of both, it’s much easier than you think to change your Apple Watch charging habits.
Of course, there is always the option of reusing an old Apple Watch as its dedicated “sleep watch”. 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall previously explained how to do that. You can also choose a used or refurbished old Apple Watch model to do this.
Once you’ve established a charging routine for your Apple Watch, it’s time to choose a sleep tracking app. There are a few different options.
AutoSleep is probably the most popular Apple Watch sleep tracking app on the App Store, and for good reason. It provides some of the most detailed data, including a detailed view of sleep, sleep quality, heart rate, deep sleep, and much more.
AutoSleep uses a ring system to help you control those key stats. The main interface displays sleep rings, sleep quality, deep sleep, and bpm. However, all of this data comes at a cost, and the AutoSleep interface can feel a bit overwhelming once you dive into all the available data.
To combat that, AutoSleep also offers a great Apple Watch app that makes it easy to quickly view today’s sleep data. There is also a “readiness” score that tries to predict how ready you are for the day based on your dream that night.
More about AutoSleep:
AutoSleep is available on the App Store for $ 2.99 as a one-time purchase.
Sleep ++ is another popular sleep tracking app for Apple Watch with support for automatic sleep detection, bedtime reminders, sleep goals, and more. In the Sleep ++ app, the main interface provides a detailed view of your sleeping habits in the last days.
Like its competitors, Sleep ++ also offers plenty of information on sleep trends, cycles, phases, and more. You can also view a detailed timeline of your dream, even when you were resting, restless and awake, with a particularly clear look at when your “best dream” occurred.
One of the best things about Sleep ++ is that it’s completely free, with an optional in-app purchase to remove ads. If you’re looking for a data-rich Apple Watch automatic sleep tracker, download Sleep ++ from the App Store.
When I wrote about sleeping apps for the Apple Watch almost three years ago, Pillow was an option I wasn’t familiar with at the time, but multiple 9to5Mac Readers suggested that I try it. With features like automatic sleep detection and heart rate analysis, Pillow fits in perfectly with the rest of the market.
One of Pillow’s key features is its support for recording important audio events throughout the night. This means that the app can track data, including snoring, sleep apnea, and sleep, but the biggest caveat here is that noise detection only works in manual mode.
There’s also support for detailed sleep trends over time, personalized recommendations, and more. You can try Pillow in the App Store for free with in-app purchases.
NapBot is a newcomer to the Apple Watch sleep tracking fun, and it’s fast becoming one of the most powerful options. NapBot uses machine learning to automatically track sleep, allowing you to see details about phases, trends, and more.
NapBot offers an impressive amount of data in an impressively easy to navigate interface. The “Calendar” tab in the app allows you to get a detailed view of your sleep on a daily basis, and you can choose a specific day to see more detailed information about heart rate and phases.
NapBot has also just released its first Apple Watch app that is completely independent of the iPhone. Currently it only lets you see the dream from the day before, but hopefully it will add more capabilities and historical data over time.
NapBot is Apple Watch’s new sleep tracking app, but it’s also fast becoming my choice. You can download it from the App Store for free with in-app purchases.
If none of those options pique your interest, Sleep Watch is another option available on the App Store. Apple acquired Beddit in 2017, but it’s primarily a hardware sleep tracker that it places under its sheets. Sleep Cycle was available for Apple Watch until recently, but support was withdrawn in October.
What do I use?
Despite all the new entrants to the Apple Watch sleep tracking industry, I still consider AutoSleep the most powerful option, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. AutoSleep offers you much of data, and sometimes it’s overwhelming trying to figure out the logic behind some of that data.
NapBot is becoming a close second for me. While he’s a newcomer to the scene, he’s rapidly improving with consistent updates. For example, you recently added a standalone Apple Watch app, new Apple Watch trends and complications, and more.
The key, regardless of which app you choose, is making sure there is some sort of automatic sleep detection feature. This reduces friction and means you don’t have to remember to manually start a sleep tracking session every night before bed. Instead, your Apple Watch can follow your dream in the background, without any interaction on your part.
These apps also integrate with Apple’s Health app, which means you can get an overview of your sleep data along with everything else in the Health app. The Health app is useful for tracking long-term trends and averages, but if you want detailed data, you’ll have to jump to the third-party app you prefer.
Now that Apple’s sleep tracking solution for Apple Watch has been officially announced, there is more interest than ever in sleep tracking apps. These third-party apps offer powerful and rich data, health app integration, and more. Plus, you can get started today, without waiting for watchOS 7 to launch in the fall.
Are you following your dream with Apple Watch? Which application do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!
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