Apple Watch Performance: How Good is it For Sleep Tracking?

The Apple Watch is one of the most popular smartwatches on the market; it has many features, including sleep tracking. But how good is Apple Watch for sleep tracking? Is the Apple Watch sleep tracking accurate? And does the battery perform well when the Apple Watch actively tracks sleep? This blog post will answer these questions.

How Apple Watch Tracks Your Sleep

After the watchOS7 update back in 2020, sleep tracking became an option with Apple products. With the 2021 watchOS8 update, Apple became slightly more sophisticated in terms of using machine learning to monitor your sleep patterns.

Apple Watch uses sensors that detect your movement. Apple Watch even tracks micromovements – like respiration rate – to better assess whether you are sleeping. Despite all these data points Apple Watch provides only limited sleep data insights. Details around the WatchOS9 update will be announced in 2022 and we’re hoping to see major improvements on that front.

Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Accuracy

Is Apple Watch sleep tracking good? The Apple Watch is about as accurate as you would expect a premium smartwatch to be when it comes to  telling you how long you’ve been asleep overnight. Apple has ironed out many kinks with the 2021 update, making sleep tracking more accurate.

Often, the complaint is that there isn’t enough valuable information in the sleep data the watch collects. For instance, under watchOS8, you’re not provided insights about sleep phases (light, deep and REM sleep). This is something competitor Fitbit excels at.

Instead, the Apple Watch helps with creating a simple sleep routine that is healthier and easy to follow. If the company added more night data collection, such as noise recording and sleep phases, users would be better able to cross-reference data.

Best Sleep Tracking Apps for the Apple Watch

Apple Watch has a native sleep tracking app, which does the job when it comes to tracking your time in bed and estimating time asleep. It is also a good tool for a general overview of your sleep habits. However, many users find it lacks features, and the collected data lacks insights.

Many sleep tracking apps are available for the Apple Watch; however, not all are created equal. This section will review some of the best sleep tracking apps for Apple Watch.

Sleep Cycle

This app is one of the most popular sleep tracking apps for the Apple Watch. It tracks your sleep and provides insights into your sleep habits, giving data on sleep trends, cycles, and phases.

Sleep Cycle also tracks how beneficial your rest was by monitoring when you were restful, restless, or awake-ultimately showing you when your best sleep occurred. This app is free but offers an in-app purchase to access extra features and to remove ads.


This sleep tracking app is known for its simple and easy-to-use interface. AutoSleep offers data on your sleep, including detailed information and trends on sleep quality, duration, deep sleep, and more.

One of the unique features of AutoSleep is that it uses a system of rings to monitor crucial sleep statistics. The interface will show you the rings for sleep, sleep quality, deep sleep, and bpm; the app even offers a score that tries to estimate how “ready” for the day you will be based on your previous sleep quality. The app is available for a small one-off fee in the App store.


This Apple Watch sleep tracking app helps you fall asleep. The app offers a variety of features to its users, including sleep tracking, sleep aids, and bedtime reminders. The app also provides detailed information on audio events throughout the night. In short, the app tracks data around snoring, sleep talking, and sleep apnea. Pillow is free with in-app purchases in the App store.

Battery Considerations When Using the Apple Watch for Sleep Tracking

Apple Watch battery life is a concern for many users. It’s well-known that, unlike other smartwatches, sleeping tracking is a battery drainer on the Apple Watch, requiring users to have to charge it more often. 

Apple Watch uses a low-power mode when inactive for an extended time, but it constantly monitors your movement and heart rate when tracking sleep. For this reason, you should charge your Apple Watch every day when working or experiencing downtime to ensure that it has enough power to last through the night and track your sleep.

Apple Watch doesn’t have the best battery life compared to its competitors. For instance, the Apple Watch Series 7 will only last about 18 hours between charges for the average user. In comparison, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 will have power for about 40 hours on average.

If you are looking for a watch to track fitness metrics, and sleep tracking is not the priority for you, then Apple Watch is a good option. This is especially true considering the variety of apps available to help your sleep tracking experience. However, if sleep tracking is a priority for you, you may want to consider one of the other smartwatch brands like Fitbit and Garmin.


Which brand is best for sleep tracking, Apple Watch vs. Garmin?

Garmin is better than Apple for sleep tracking. Often the Apple Watch is considered too basic, as it only tracks your time asleep and your time in bed. On the other hand, Garmin is one of the best brands for sleep tracking due to its accuracy. No matter the wearable, Garmin watches track sleep duration, disturbances, and the stages (light, deep, and REM) while providing an overall sleep score.

Which brand is best for sleep tracking, Apple Watch vs. Fitbit?

Fitbit is better than Apple for sleep tracking. The reason many would consider Fitbit the better choice between the two brands is that it offers more detailed sleep tracking. Sleep tracking has long been a staple for Fitbit, even in its earlier models. Fitbit has some of the best sleep data available and breaks down sleep stages and sleeping heart rate monitors blood oxygen levels and gives valid scores on collected data.

If using Apple Watch for sleep tracking, when do you charge the battery?

If you use your Apple Watch for sleep tracking, you will want to charge it every day. You may want to charge it during your morning routine, or during your wind down period. Generally, the Apple Watch uses a lot of battery when tracking sleep. Because sleep tracking battery drain is an issue for Apple Watch, it will prompt you to charge it before you go to bed if the watch has less than 30% battery capacity.

Is Apple Watch sleep tracking good?

Apple Watches are good for sleep tracking and obtaining primary data like time in bed and time asleep, but are not as accurate nor as thorough in sleep analysis as other brands. Apple Watches also are limited in their sleep tracking capabilities.

Does the Apple Watch track sleep levels?

No, Apple Watch does not track sleep levels. Apple Watch only tracks time asleep, disturbances, respiratory rate, heart rate, and calorie burn. 

Does Apple Watch track sleep during naps?

No, it doesn’t track sleep during naps. Apple Watch tracks sleep based on a manually set sleep schedule, not outside of that, no matter how long you sleep.


While the Apple Watch’s sleep tracking may not collect data on REM and deep sleep, it is still a good option for those looking for a smartwatch with sleep tracking capabilities. Apple Watch is especially a good choice if you are also interested in the third-party apps that give Apple Watch more unique sleep tracking features not seen in its native sleep tracking app. However, the Whoop Strap or Fitbit are better options and have insightful sleep tracking capabilities.

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