Dec 18, 2019

5 Tips for Sleep Tracking

How to have the best sleep-tracking experience

Tracking your sleep with a sports watch or a smartwatch is a straight-forward endeavor: you simply strap it on, climb into bed, and snooze. Even though the basics are painfully easy, there are several less obvious tips that can make your sleep-tracking experience much more successful and enjoyable. Here they are...

A graphic illustration of a female sitting up in bed wearing a smartwatch

1) Prevent your watch from interrupting your sleep

You definitely don't want your watch to light up, make noise, or vibrate while you're sleeping. With Garmin watches you can easily turn on a mode called Do Not Disturb for this purpose (long-press the Power button then scroll to the moon icon), and with Apple Watch you should use Theatre Mode (swipe up from the bottom and tap on the "comedy and tragedy" mask icon). This mode turns off the screen on Apple Watch, unless you intentionally tap the display or press a button. This way, when you shift around in bed, your watch will remain dark.

2) Be intentional about when you charge

Charging smartphones while you sleep is common practice, but your watch obviously cannot do this and track your sleep in a meaningful way. To avoid being insufficiently charged at the start of the night, you need to be intentional about when you charge your watch. Many people charge up while showering in the morning, others do it while they cook dinner and pop it back on after it's fully charged. It may be a good idea to store your watch charger in the bag that you carry everyday so you have more options for when you can charge.

3) Uncomfortable? Try another band!

Many people give sleep tracking a try but quickly abandon it because they find wearing a watch uncomfortable as they sleep. It doesn't help that many watches come with silicone bands, which some people find unpleasant to sleep with. The skin under your watchband may even become irritated. Don't let this kind of discomfort completely stop you from sleep tracking. There are many great replacement bands available on Amazon for as little as $10. Try using an inexpensive nylon "sport loop" style band. They're softer, they provide a comfortable yet snug fit, and they might help you sleep like a baby.

4) Use the alarm clock on your watch

When smartphones became popular they replaced your camera, calculator, and even your alarm clock. The thing is, there's a much nicer way to wake up that's vastly superior to fumbling with a noisy phone on your bedside table. If your watch has a built-in alarm clock feature, you should definitely try using it instead of your normal method. This is one feature that the Apple Watch gets just right. It peacefully rouses you with silent, non-jarring vibrations on your wrist, which don't wake up the person sleeping beside you. Holding the Light button on some Garmin watches give you access to the alarm, which also works really nicely.

5) Track your sleep data on multiple platforms

Any watch that has sleep-tracking capabilities will also provide a way for you to review some of the data that was collected. However, there are other platforms that let you do more with this data. For example, SportTracks lets you easily create custom sleep-tracking charts that you can place next to other health metrics like steps, calories burned, resting heart-rate and more, and arrange it to your liking. Plus, if you decide to switch from one brand of watch to another, your old sleep and health data will be on the same platform as the new data from your new device. SportTracks offers a free 45-day trial so you can fully test it out — and you won't be charged when it ends.

Thanks for checking out this article, and thanks for making the healthy choice of prioritizing sleep!

Article written by Sam Mallery, Director of Marketing, Zone Five Software Inc.