Yawwwwn. Waking up feeling tired? Think you’re not getting enough sleep, or even the best kind of sleep? You could turn to your iPhone for help, but it may be better to track your sleep patterns. One way to do that is with a sleep tracker app on your Apple Watch.
In the past, you had to use a third-party app to monitor and record your sleep, but Apple introduced its own integrated sleep tracker with watchOS 7. The built-in tracker gets the job done, but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles needed to fully track and record every aspect of your sleep. For that reason, you might still want to try a third-party sleep-tracking app to get a more complete picture of your sleep patterns.
By wearing your watch to bed and using an app to monitor your sleep, you can learn how long you sleep during a typical night as well as how deeply you’re sleeping. These apps can transfer results to your iPhone, where you can check on your sleeping pattern the next morning and track how your sleep fares over time.
Worried about battery power? Don’t be. Your Apple Watch won’t run out of battery in the middle of the night if you give it a power boost before bed. Connect it to the charger for an hour or two before sleep, and it should last the entire night.
These apps aren’t always 100 percent accurate. A more comprehensive test would involve your doctor and a full sleep study where you would be hooked up to monitors. However, these sleep trackers at least offer a good place to start.
Apple Watch Built-in Sleep App
Your Apple Watch must be running watchOS 7 to have access to the Sleep app. To get the latest software, you must have a Series 3-6 or SE, and own an iPhone 6s or later running iOS 14 or higher. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and go to General > Software Update. You’ll be told that your software is up to date or be prompted to download and install the latest update.
Swipe down the My Watch screen in the Watch app and tap Sleep. By activating the switch next to Turn On Automatically, you simplify your Lock screen and enable Do Not Disturb mode to wind down before bedtime. Switching on Show Time turns off the display of the date and time during sleep hours.
Use the switch next to Track Sleep with Apple Watch to start monitoring your sleep. The Charging Reminders option will tell you when your watch is fully charged before bedtime. We recommend turning on all of these options.
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 you’d 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.
Set Up Sleep on Apple Watch
Open the Sleep app on your watch (the icon displays a white bed in a blue circle). Tap the schedule, then select the Wake Up time if you wish to change it. Turn on an alarm if you need one to wake you up at the right time. Tap the time for Bedtime if you want to change that as well.
Return to the main screen and tap Full Schedule if you wish to turn off your Sleep Schedule for any specific nights or all nights. Here, you can also add a schedule and change your sleep goal or Wind Down time. Then just wear your watch to bed.
View Sleep Data
The next morning, you can check the Sleep app on your watch to see how much sleep you got, or check the Health app on your iPhone. Using the Health app, go to the Browse screen and select the entry for Sleep. The bar graphs show your start and end times for sleep. As you record multiple nights of sleep, you’ll be able to see your history on a weekly or monthly basis.
Tap the bar for a specific day to see the total amount of time you were asleep. Tap Show More Sleep Data to see how many nights of sleep were measured, your sleep goal, your average time in bed, and your average time asleep. Go back to the previous screen and swipe down to see your sleeping heart rate.
Download a Sleep Tracker to Apple Watch
If you’re running watchOS 6 or higher, your Apple Watch now has a dedicated App Store. That means you no longer have to download an app onto your iPhone and your watch. However, all these sleep apps do offer an iPhone version through which you can see and review the full results of your sleep sessions, so you may still prefer to go through the regular iPhone App Store
To do this, open the Watch app on your phone. Tap Discover > Explore Watch Apps and select the search icon. Type a phrase such as “sleep trackers” or enter the name of a specific app. Tap the Get button or the price button to download and install the app.
If you already have a sleep tracker app on your iPhone and want to add it to your watch, again turn to the Watch app on your phone. Swipe down the My Watch screen. At the Available Apps section, tap the Install button for the app you want. The app then transfers to your watch and appears in the section Installed on Apple Watch.
Set Up AutoSleep
For $3.99, AutoSleep Track Sleep on Watch automatically tracks and records your sleep during the night. First, set up the app on your iPhone where you’re asked several questions to determine your sleeping pattern. The app will then start monitoring your sleep when you lie down at the specified time. You can also manually tap the Lights Off button to tell the app that you’re going to sleep.
Data Tracking With AutoSleep
The next morning, open the app and you can see how long you were in bed and how long you actually slept. As the app records each night’s sleep, it keeps track of the average amount of sleep you get.
On the watch, swipe down on the app’s screen to view more data about your sleep. You will be able to view the amount of total sleep, deep sleep, and overall quality of sleep, how long you were awake during the night, and your average heart rate during the night. You can also see a history of your sleep for as long as you’ve been using the app.
To see even more information, open AutoSleep on your iPhone and swipe down the different screens. Though other sleep apps are free, AutoSleep is worth the price for its wealth of details.
Set Up Pillow
The Pillow app can record sound during the night to tell if you’re snoring, talking in your sleep, or making other noises. The basic app is free, but unlocking all the features and functions requires a subscription of $4.49 for a month, $9.49 for three months, or $27.49 for a year.
Pillow can also track power naps and other short bursts of rest. When you’re ready to go to bed, manually trigger Pillow by tapping the Start button. The first time you do this, the app asks which items you want to track, such as sounds, alarms, and naps. Pillow then starts counting down the hours and minutes.
The next morning when you wake up, open the app and tap the Stop button to turn off the countdown. You can also tap Snooze if you want to restart the countdown at some point.
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.
Set Up Sleep++
Sleep++ is a free app (or $1.99 without ads) that tries to gauge both the duration and quality of each night’s sleep. On your watch, open the app and tap the Start Manual Night button when you’re ready for bed. The next morning, tap the Stop Sleeping button to turn off tracking.
Data Tracking with Sleep++
Sleep++ analyzes your sleeping pattern, shows you the number of hours you were in bed, and gives you a percentage measuring how restless you were during the night. You can also view your sleep information on the Sleep++ iPhone app and opt to sync the data to the Health app.