Garmin has long been a forerunner in the field of health, fitness, and sports monitoring, but it has also taken huge leaps in development over recent years when it comes to sleep tracking. In the past, many users would find the Garmin range excellent for tracking their health but might swap to a more sensitive device to monitor sleep. Now, Garmin has been able to incorporate an excellent sleep tracker into their smartwatches.
There has always been sleep monitoring on Garmin watches, but their dedicated Advanced Sleep Monitoring feature is a real game-changer.
Garmin devices are now some of the most innovative smartwatches for tracking sleep. Not only are they able to track waking and sleeping hours, but they can also track the different stages of sleep, from light to deep to rapid-eye-movement. What makes this so special is that such data could previously only be tracked by monitoring brainwaves in a specialist sleep clinic.
How Do Garmin Watches Monitor Sleep?
Garmin understands that there is more to sleep patterns than just the time you go to sleep and the time you wake up. Garmin’s goal is to discover what goes on during that period and display the results of your personalized sleep patterns.
For example, you might have a night of broken sleep where you are only sleeping lightly and don’t get any proper deep sleep. Even though you’ve been in bed for eight hours, you still feel lethargic throughout the day. Garmin uses a variety of sensors to discern your actual sleep quality, so that you can use that feedback to make better decisions.
Garmin uses four main metrics to measure your sleep, and together they are processed by an algorithm to provide accurate, rounded results, capable of understanding which phases of sleep you experience–and even for what length of time.
Movement: Measured with the accelerometer, this function shows you how restful your sleep was. You will be able to see if you slept calmly or were tossing and turning without even knowing it, giving you a greater insight into your sleeping behavior coupled with other metrics.
Heart Rate: When you enter different stages of sleep, your heart rate changes alongside your breathing pattern, so monitoring your sleeping heart rate is an essential part of the algorithm that helps judge how long you are in each sleep stage.
Respiration: This measurement is taken by analyzing your heart rate variability, which is a delicate and sensitive metric determining heartbeat rates as you breathe in and out. The watch will display the rate at which you breathe all night long, potentially spotting any health problems in advance.
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How Accurate Are Garmin Watches at Monitoring Sleep?
Garmin watches are some of most accurate and best sleep trackers on the market, aside from devices solely dedicated to tracking sleep, and they enjoy a fairly high accuracy rate. When it comes to detecting the different stages of sleep, it is estimated that they are around 70% accurate.
The brand does give a disclaimer that its fitness and sleep metric detection aim to be a tool that provides you with accurate information regarding your lifestyle and sleep patterns, but shouldn’t be used to diagnose illnesses or disease.
The sensors, such as the heart rate monitor, have been developed for high accuracy, but certain factors, like how you sleep, environmental disturbances, and how you are wearing your watch will affect accuracy. The pulse oximeter gives an accurate estimation of the blood oxygen levels, but may be less accurate at different elevations. Characteristics of the wearer and the way the watch is worn, such as a loose watch on a thin wrist, ambient light interfering with an optical sensor, or disconnection from the skin during sleeping hours, may also skew results.
To improve accuracy, Garmin recommends wearers put the watch on a few hours before they go to sleep, set the watch as your preferred device, and ensure that the heart rate monitor has been turned on. As with any sleep tracker watch, it’s also a good idea to ensure good contact between the device and the skin on the wrist for more accurate results.
How to Set Advanced Sleep Monitoring on a Garmin Watch
First, ensure that your Garmin sleep monitoring app is updated and that your birth date has been saved in Garmin Connect.
Access the Menu on the app and choose Activity Tracking. From there you can edit your Bed Time as well as the Wake Time.
Once you have set your parameters you can then just click Sleep Mode to start the recording of your sleep data. If you have already set the device to track this automatically, it will consider the Bed Time you’ve set to be your sleeping period.
For best results, ensure that you always set your Garmin device as your “Preferred Activity Tracker” and wear it in the hours before you go to sleep so that the app can differentiate properly between sleeping and waking activity.
Which Garmin Watches Can Monitor Sleep?
While many of Garmin’s newer smartwatches have the hardware to measure sleep, some of the older ones are incompatible with this feature. The Fenix 3HR, for instance, is not able to monitor rapid-eye movement sleep because it does not have an optical reader for detecting heart rates.
Just some of the watches which support Garmin’s Advanced Sleep Monitoring include:
- Forerunner 45 / 55 / 245 / 645 / 745 / 935
- Vivoactive 3 / Vivoactive 3 Music
- Vivomove HR / Vivosmart 3 / Vivosport
- Venu / Venu 2 / Venu 2 Plus / Venu Sq
- Fenix 5 / 6
- Quatix 5 / 6
- Tactix Charlie & D2 Charlie / Tactix Delta & D2 Delta
- As well as models from the Instinct and Lily Series and the MARQ Collection
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Have you recently used sleep monitoring on Garmin watches? Tell us what you think in the comments below.