Sleep tracking with Apple Watch


So I’m looking into sleep tracking with the Apple Watch, at the moment I actually have my old Series 0 watch which is gathering dust which I’m looking at using for this task. That way I can alternate Series 3 for the day and Series 0 for the night (assuming of course that it’s capable of doing the things it needs to do). This also allows me to keep both charged nicely.

Switching between devices is easy, I’ve done it a couple of times when working in the yard (where I can be a little more care/worry free when it comes to scratches and damage (although I’m still pretty anal :stuck_out_tongue: ).

Here are a few I’ve run across so far with various reviews.

Edit: Added in Pillow:

And Sleep++

So does anyone do this? What app do you use and how do you find it?


Yep. I use Pillow, which has manual start and stop. I found the automatic sleep trackers to be inaccurate and the times they logged would need adjusting anyway. I prefer to tell it I’m going to sleep now and I’ve woken up now and be done with it for the day.

I’m using it to try and improve my sleep because it’s woeful, nearly every day recording under 60% sleep quality. Thus far it hasn’t helped change that. I think that’s the issue with these apps. They tell you you’re sleeping like crap but don’t offer any advice on how to improve that.

If you find one that actually offers advice on how to use the data to improve sleep let us know!


This is exactly why I stopped sleep tracking. I already know I had a crappy night, I don’t need an app to tell me too.


My wife has been using this since the last update, works very well.


So what watches are people using for sleep tracking?

My Series 0 went from full charge at 10pm ish to dead (low power mode) at about 4am using Pillow. I had theatre mode on too so it shouldn’t have been using the screen either.
The data did come out for that period, but it said I was awake after that.


Series 2. Mine uses 15% - 25% battery overnight. I put it on the charger when I get out of bed and put it on my wrist when I’m finished getting ready and it’s good to go right through to the next morning.


Series 1, I use Autosleep and Sleepmatic. Sleep Watch does not give me the info I want in the way I want it. Sleepmatic occasionally doesnt bother recording sleep at all, but where a year ago it was hardly ever recording sleep, now it is pretty reliable.

Autosleep also works well, and I have Heartwatch as well. Sleepmatic records sleeping pulserate as well as sleep.

I dont like having to start anything manually, hence having given up on Sleep++ and Pillow, because I never remembered. If Sleep++ is now autostart and stop I’ll give it another whirl. But I do like Sleepmatic best of all. Also, it shows the graph on your watch which the others dont seem to. Although, that could have changed, too.



My Series 0 made it all the way through last night and only got down to 80%, a very different result from the night before. Maybe it was because I had turned it on for the first time in a while and it was processing something? Who knows. It’s worth adding I have switched my Series 0 from the metal band it was wearing back to a silicone one so it’s a little softer to sleep in too.

So I’ve used Pillow twice now, it appears to do what it says on the box and as kyte has said, having to start it manually is an extra step, although given I’m changing watches at each end of my sleep at the moment it’s not too much of a problem given I have an external prompt to do things. This one is $8 to unlock all the things, something I haven’t done yet and I do note that it constantly seems to remind me of that fact… and that’s only on day 2 :stuck_out_tongue:

AutoSleep and their companion HeartWatch look pretty good, they also have good reviews, much better than the reviews and feedback for sleepmatic or sleep++ seem to have so they might just be the next things to try out. I wonder how well they handle the transition between two different watches or if the data will simply flow back to the iPhone and work as it should.


Night 3: Sleep Watch

So I downloaded a new app last night, this one was $4.49. I actually meant to buy AutoSleep, but all the similar names, the same price and the fact I was lying in bed at the time all led to me purchasing the wrong one.

While the more I consider it, the more it seems obvious, but I’m guessing that all these apps are essentially tracking raw data that the watch already captures. Maybe by default the Apple Watch simply discards this data or maybe doesn’t retain it with enough granularity to provide these sorts of reports, a common comment in feedback seems to be that this sort of functionality should be included by default… although if I was to guess I would say that Apple has intentionally kept this out until they are more convinced in the ability of the battery to support this as a more common use case. Speaking of battery, the Series 0 worked beautifully again only dropping 20 - 25% overnight and the transition to my Series 3 works brilliantly too, essentially I get up, organise myself then take off the Series 0 when I have a shower and put my Series 3 on afterwards. At the moment I am going into the sleep apps to see what they say so I’m not sure when/how they normally transfer their data so I’m not sure if my manual interaction is ensuring the data is captured by the phone or if it’s magically transferring live. Something I will test eventually.

So my impressions at this stage are that the differentiation between these apps is primarily how they display the information and then any insights they might be able to suggest.

So what did I think of Sleep Watch?

Sleep watch is fully automatic, which is very nice. Given it syncs with your health data it’s also happily picked up the data from Pillow so is showing me the last few days too. It has what I would consider being a simplified display showing only a light and dark bar showing when you were restful vs restless. It looks to have correctly detected sleep on its first try, something claims it gets better at over time too.

The same data from Pillow shows a more detailed breakup, although as I said earlier, this is probably just more guesswork on the same raw data. I sort of prefer this, but would probably take the automation of Sleep Watch over this. On the upside, using Pillow means I would get data in both apps… even if I had to manually start it. (again reinforcing the idea that they are all just feeding off the same raw data field)


It’s also interesting to note that the two different apps show different numbers. Sleep Watch is showing 4:40 for restful sleep vs 5:50 of sleep in Pillow. I do note that they have different finish times in the screen shots, but this is something I have corrected in Sleep Watch and it’s still showing 4:40. I can guess these are slightly different metrics or just a difference in interpretation??

I will have to manually run Pillow tonight to get another data point.

(And yes I was awake between midnight and 1am thanks to children/school holidays).


Sleep Watch was the one I was using and it’d send me a notification asking if the hours I was sleeping were correct. I’m like if you’re going to ask me that I’ll just start and stop the bloody thing myself!


It says it supposedly learns over time.


I get that technology has come a long way, but expecting apps to give you personalised advice to help you sleep better after recording sleep quality data is a bit much, no?

I mean, the advice you get from people who do this kind of thing for a living, with an entire sleep lab and years of medical experience at their disposal, is probably iffy at best. It’s not an exact science by many means, but if you’re truly interested in falling asleep quickly, or having better quality sleep, you’re better off starting a routine and sticking to it religiously than thinking an app is going to give you anything better than “you should consider lowering your heart rate while sleeping”.


I’ve also been running Sleep Cycle alongside Autosleep etc. It doesnt have a Watch app, it detects other stuff, and sometimes it just doesnt work particularly well. It used to be (when first released) something you had to lay on the bed, to detect your movement, but now you just have it on the side table with mic pointed towards you. It seems to be reasonably accurate.

Last night from Sleep cycle

Last Night from Sleepmatic

I guess I like Sleepmatic because its closest in presentation to what I had become used to with my fitbit, which I no longer use since getting Apple Watch.

[edit] forgot to mention that my battery depletes only by 1% with sleep apps running. I have DND on and sound off, too. Otherwise all functions the same.


I use AutoSleep and HeartWatch in conjunction. Both very good apps that do what they say they’ll do. I tried a few others but these ones worked best for me.


I had a failure last night with Auto Watch showing no data from 4:00 - 4:30am for some reason. I’m also noticing that my watch is passcode locked in the morning meaning it must think it was off my wrist at some stage. Maybe a foible of how I move/lay in my sleep?

I do wonder a little if (and by how much) the Series 3 does a better job than the Series 0?

Of course, I am also left wondering if it’s worth the hassle it at all. I think it’s a little early to make that call just yet, but it definitely back of mind. Managing two devices to ensure battery life (or managing one and attempting to sneak in enough charge time) + physically wearing the watch to bed is new to me and something I feel I’m going out of my way to do for some data… now I like data so I’ll keep it up for now, but I’m really on the edge.