How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep 2022

How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep

You’d be surprised to know that Apple wasn’t the first to come up with the smartwatch, they weren’t the first to introduce sleep tracking either. But they immediately stood apart from the rest of the fitness tracking devices once the first Apple Watch was introduced. Thereafter they’ve been constantly working towards improving their sleep tracking feature. 

They have taken a different, more holistic approach when compared to other fitness trackers with the motive of trying to understand and help people track their sleep better, so they can understand how much more or less is required to be healthy. They use this data to create a pre-bedtime routine so you can achieve your fitness and sleep goals.

In this article, I will help you understand how Apple Watch tracks sleep and how you can set it up the right way. Let's begin.

Also Read: Apple Watch Series 6 Hidden Features

How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep

When compared to other smartwatches brands like Amazfit and Fitbit, the Apple watch does only the basic level of sleep tracking. It does not provide information on the stages of sleep you’ve had or the amount of time it took for you to sleep from relaxation mode. It focuses on tracking sleep duration rather, and features you can control for a good night’s sleep.

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This means more consistent bedtimes and wake-ups that create a healthy sleep cycle for your body to naturally sync to. With the help of an accelerometer and motion sensors, the watch can monitor when your body is at rest.

Though it might seem very basic, it actually works and provides accurate tracking in comparison to other fitness smartwatches. 

Set up Sleep Tracking On Apple Watch

  • The first thing you would need to do is check if your iPhone is running iOS 14 and your Apple Watch is running on watchOS 7 or later.
  • Open the Health app on your iPhone or the Sleep app on your Apple Watch to set up Sleep.
  • Then choose the duration of sleep you desire which should be a minimum of 8 hours.
  • Once you’ve set the duration, set the time when bedtime should begin and when it should end for you to wake up.
  • There are preset options to choose from and also manually set the days you want your sleep tracked and the days you don’t want it to. 
How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep
  • Once you’ve set up the sleep duration, you need to set the relaxation time before you hit the sack. You can link the wind-down option to Siri which can automate your lights to go down and stereo to turn on a link to a music playlist for relaxation.
How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep
  • You can decide to set an alarm to wake you up and the sound the alarm should play to wake up.
How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep
  • If your Apple Watch battery is dead or put on charge the alarm will sound off from your iPhone. 

With the schedule in place, you can now track your sleep and understand it in detail using the daily and monthly graph. 

Set up a Sleep Schedule

This amazing feature was introduced in the iOS7 update which is compatible with the series 3 and above. The tracking feature integrates with the iPhone’s clock so you can create a sleep schedule that you can follow. 

Once your schedule is set, the watch prepares you to go to sleep using wind-down time. That basically starts 45 mins before your bedtime. When the watch enters wind-down mode the display is dimmed and locked simultaneously turning on DND mode (Do Not Disturb). 

Now the watch is in sleep mode. If you need to unlock the watch during the sleep mode you will need to turn the digital crown to unlock the watch. 

If you disable sleep mode it will not be able to track your sleep, so make sure you set your schedule correctly to avoid any misinformation. 

You can follow the screenshot below to help you set up your sleep schedule. 

How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep

The sleep option can be accessed through different methods on the watch and iPhone which might be confusing at first but you will understand why Apple has done that in a bit. The sleep app ties several features of the apple watch together, here are some way to help you access it.

  • The sleep schedule can be set up from the Clock app on your Apple watch as well as your iPhone.
  • It can be configured and set up directly from the sleep app on the Apple watch
  • It can be configured from the Health app on the iPhone.
  • It can be configured with the sleep app on your iPhone.

Adjust your Sleep Goal

How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep

With the Apple Watch, you are able to adjust your sleep goal as you see fit. This can be done either on your Apple Watch itself or on your iPhone, whichever is closest and easily accessible.

On the iPhone

  • Open the Health app and tap on Sleep
  • Now, click on Full Schedule & Options
  • Open the Sleep Goal which is situated under Additional Details.
  • Set your Sleep Goal accordingly by scrolling through the timer and save your settings.

On your Apple Watch

  • Open the Sleep app on your Apple Watch
  • Tap on Full Schedule and then under Options, tap on Sleep Goal.
  • Use the '+' and '-' to set your goal accordingly and then tap on the Sleep Goal in the upper left corner to save your settings.

Set up Wind Down with your Apps

Wind down is activated 45 mins before your bedtime starts that allows you to add apps and shortcuts to your lock screen. Here’s how to step up your relaxation apps.

  • Open Health App on your iPhone then tap Browse and then select the Sleep icon.
  • Once the sleep option is displayed scroll down to “Get More From Health” and then tap Get started which should be under the Wind Down section.
  • You will display a message stating Sleep mode can start before bedtime, where you can eliminate worldly distractions and relax before dozing off.
How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep
  • Use the side buttons to set how long you’d like to have the wind-down period to last. 
  • Tap on Wind Down to enable it.

Next, you will be asked to choose your wind-down shortcuts, select the fitting apps or choose from the suggestions to customize. 

  • Tap Add Another Shortcut if you want to add more and tap minus to remove an app.

Wind Down for relaxation before bedtime is set. This feature is excellent to have when you get back from work.

View your Sleep History with the Health App

Once you’ve set up sleep tracking, Apple’s sleep tracking feature focuses on the total amount of time that you spent in bed. The tracking is quite accurate and will know if you are still awake reading or using your phone laying down on your bed. 

To view the results, open your iPhone and click on the Health app and tap on the Sleep option. Once it comes up, scroll down to the bottom where you will be displayed with a graph showing the results of your sleep pattern if you’ve achieved it or not.

This graph can be broadened out to view your sleep pattern for the complete month, so you can have the complete data to help you improve it. As shown in the image below.

How Apple Watch Tracks Sleep

It is possible to get detailed information for a particular day’s result that will tell you the amount of time you’ve been in bed and the amount of time you’ve been asleep. This information can be found at the top of the screen, along with the date of the particular day. 

Data Safety

Fitness brands like Fitbit and Amazfit have taken anonymized user data from their launch for years to get a clear idea of the sleep patterns of their customers to help improve their products.

Apple doesn’t do that, they have been building their machine learning models from data that has been collected over time through internal studies.

Privacy means people know what they’re signing up for, in plain English, and repeatedly. I’m an optimist; I believe people are smart, and some people want to share more data than other people do. Ask them. Ask them every time.

Make them tell you to stop asking them if they get tired of your asking them. Let them know precisely what you’re going to do with their data.

Steve Jobs - 2010 D8 conference

Apple respects privacy and treats the data that’s collected from your Apple Watch and iPhone with a high level of sensitivity. I feel better knowing this, if this information is shared a person will know when I’m in deep sleep and could take advantage. 

You will be prompted by Apple if it’s okay to share the info with other third-party fitness apps, if not Apple does not use it period. 


If my Apple Watch battery dies will I lose all my previous tracked sleeping data?

No, Both your Apple Watch and iPhone are linked to each other while it tracks your sleep. So if your Apple Watch battery dies, your iPhone will sound the alarm for your wake up so you don’t change your sleeping pattern and maintain your healthy sleep cycle.

Can I Link Siri to Wind Down?

Yes, you can integrate your relaxation time with Siri so she can cue your relaxation music on time and control the light setting in your room if you have smart lights enabled. You can also adjust your sleep schedule using Siri if you need to wake up early.

Can I share my sleeping data with third-party fitness apps?

Yes, you can but you have to manually authorise it, as Apple follows strict privacy norms where they don’t use or share your personal data unless you authorise it. You can have the third-party fitness app be active simultaneously than export data from your sleep app.


There you have it,

I hope this article has helped you understand everything about Apple Watch Sleep Tracking. To be honest, it's a very useful and helpful feature to have on your watch as it helps you understand whether or not you're getting the right amount of sleep every night.

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