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The Best Sleep App for Apple Watch

“There’s an app for that” is a phrase that took hold in 2009 shortly after Apple launched its wildly popular App Store. Now, over 10 years later, there really is an app for everything. From banking and dating to counting calories and chatting with friends, if you can imagine it, Apple probably created an app for it.

And this includes your sleep needs. There are countless apps available on the Apple store that let you track your sleep. These apps calculate everything from how long you sleep to how many times you wake up and even your heart rate. To make things even more convenient, these apps are available for download on your Apple Watch. Now, you can have all your sleep details within arms (or should we say wrist?) reach.

But which apps are the most accurate and offer the most in-depth and useful information? We’re here to find out! Keep reading to learn our top picks for the best sleep app for Apple Watch so you can start tracking your sleep and getting to the root of your sleep issues once and for all.

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How Do Sleep Apps for Apple Watch Work?

Today’s technology can achieve just about anything – including tracking your sleep. But you may be wondering, how is it done? Different trackers use different methods. The Apple Watch utilizes two primary sensors that are already built into the device. One is a heart rate sensor and the other is an accelerometer.

The watch’s accelerator tracks your body movements during the night. This includes every time you roll over, toss and turn, or are still. This same tool also monitors your respiratory patterns by calculating how many times you breathe per minute while sleeping. This is especially useful information if you suspect you have undiagnosed sleep apnea. The heart rate sensor measures your heart rate compared to your breathing patterns. Using this data, the Apple Watch can analyze your metrics and determine how well or how poorly you slept that night. It can even target specific periods of time when you slept more soundly than others.

Features to Look for When Choosing the Best Sleep App for Apple Watch

Since the Apple Watch already has built-in sleep monitoring features, many sleep apps for Apple Watch are designed to work alongside these tools to collect the most accurate data. Before you choose and download an app that takes up precious storage on your phone, there are a few things to consider.

Different sleep apps for the Apple Watch track different things. Depending on your sleep issues and what you’re trying to learn about your sleep patterns, you may want certain features. Here are the top three things any good sleep-tracking app will tell you. 

Sleep Quality

Let’s face it – when it comes to sleep, quality is often more important than quantity. Although the CDC recommends adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, it’s the quality of your sleep that truly matters. This is what leaves you feeling rested, refreshed, and energized. Most sleep apps for the Apple Watch show you specific statistics about your sleep including how deep (or well) you sleep plus what times of night you sleep lightly (or not so well). Understanding your sleep quality and sleep patterns are a must, which is why this should be a key feature of the sleep app you choose.

Automatic Sleep Detection

Any sleeping track app worth downloading will offer automatic sleep detection. As the name suggests, the app detects when you fall asleep and automatically starts monitoring and tracking your statistics. Older versions and other devices require the user to manually turn on tracking before they fall asleep. This can result in inaccurate results since you’re most likely awake for at least 10 to 15 minutes after switching the app on.

Apple Watch sensors will automatically initiate these monitors for you, including the accelerometer for breathing and movement, the heart rate monitor, and the microphone which tracks noise. These tools will determine when you fall asleep and wake up, without you having to do a thing!

Sleep Schedule and Goals 

If you’re downloading a sleep app for Apple Watch, chances are, you’re trying to improve your sleep quality and set some goals for yourself. The best apps can support your efforts by letting you set a sleep schedule and sleep goals to work toward.

For example, some apps let you set specific sleep hours for different nights of the week, including weekends. These schedules will send you a reminder when it’s time to start winding down and preparing for sleep. Similar to an alarm, you can also set a wake-up time. As your needs change, so will your goals and the best sleep apple for Apple Watch will let you make adjustments along the way.

Top Picks for the Best Sleep App for Apple Watch

Every sleep app offers its own unique benefits as well as some of the same basic features. Here are the best sleep apps for Apple Watch based on the type of information they collect, interface, and versatility.

Pillow

Out of 30,000 reviews, Pillow sleep has received a 4.4 out of 5-star rating and currently reigns supreme as the most downloaded sleep app on iOS. For starters, the app’s interface is both user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing. The screen’s deep purple backdrop makes it easy to view and analyze your sleep data, which is shown in bright orange and pink charts and graphs. But looks aren’t everything. Users also like having the option to automatically or manually switch the app on and start tracking. The manual option means that you don’t have to own an Apple Watch to use this app, making it one of the more versatile options on this list. You can also set a “smart alarm clock” to wake you up at the same time each morning so you feel refreshed and alert.

The Pillow app tracks all the basic metrics as other sleep apps including heart rate, sleep duration, and sleep quality. Enabling the microphone option also allows the app to take audio recordings, which is helpful if you suspect you snore or are concerned you may have sleep apnea. It can also capture sleep talking. Unfortunately, these features are only available when you use the app in manual mode and pay the monthly subscription fee. Another downside to the Pillow app is that if you want to integrate the app and the collected data with Apple’s Health app, you need to pay for the premium version.

Users have to pay a monthly fee to use the Pillow app, which is as follows:

  • $4.99 per month
  • $12.99 for three months
  • $39.99 for a year

Pillow does offer a one-week free trial for you to see if the app works for your sleep needs.

AutoSleep

Before Apple Watch launched its own sleep-tracking technology, AutoSleep was the most popular sleep app for iOS. One reason people love the AutoSleep app is that it offers visual cues similar to the activity rings used to track fitness on the Apple Watch. These sleep rings provide a visual representation of exactly how much sleep you’re getting and how close you are to reaching your sleep goals. Sleep-tracking results from this app also include how many hours you slept, how long you were awake, how often you were restless, and your resting heart rate. Based on this information, the app will deliver a sleep report and sleep score to show your sleep quality for that night. These features only work if you wear your Apple Watch to bed.

AutoSleep also tracks daytime “readiness”. This feature is unique to the AutoSleep app and gives you a better idea of how well-rested and prepared you are for the day ahead. This sleep app also integrates seamlessly with the Apple Health app already installed on the Apple Watch. While AutoSleep will run on WatchOS 3.2, it does perform best on WatchOS 4.2. While there’s currently no free version of the AutoSleep app, you can unlock the full version and all its features for a one-time payment of just $3.99, making it one of the more affordable options on this list and in the app store. 

SleepWatch

The SleepWatch app for Apple Watch combines standard sleep-tracking technology and artificial intelligence to create a unique experience for users. It’s also rated as one of the “smartest” sleep apps available on iOS. The AI features of the SleepWatch app personalize the user experience by making specific suggestions for improving your sleep based on your tracking results. You can also upgrade to the premium option and gain access to an online community of other troubled sleepers. Here, you can compare your statistics to others in your same age range and share tips, advice, and recommendations.

The SleepWatch automatically syncs with the Apple Watch Health app. Since most users get what they need from the free version of SleepWatch, you may not need to upgrade. If you do want access to the app’s community features, you can access the premium version for just $2.99.

Sleep Tracker

Why not add a little color to your life with the Sleep Tracker sleep app for Apple Watch? Designed to resemble FitBit, the interface of this sleep app is very similar to the fitness tracker’s sleep tracker. The Sleep Tracker app lets you monitor both overnight sleep and daytime naps by using the manual option. At the end of each day, the app’s compilation report will show, in detail, your sleep habits and sleep patterns organized in easy-to-read graphs.

This sleep app for Apple Watch also lets you adjust the motion detection sensitivity. That means if you’re a restless sleeper that changes position frequently, the app will still consider this as time spent asleep. As great as these features are, they do take some getting used to. You may need to adjust the sensitivity a few times before getting it right so the app can accurately track your sleep quality and duration. The Sleep Tracker is also affordable and can be downloaded for a one-time fee of just $1.99.

Sleep 

It doesn’t get much more basic and straightforward than this. Apple’s Sleep app is probably the most convenient one to use considering it’s automatically installed on your watch. As long as you’re running watchOS7 or later, you’ll find Apple’s Sleep app right there on the home screen. It also automatically integrates with your iPhone’s Health app.

A few things this sleep does that others don’t are alert you when your Apple Watch battery is low (below 30%) as night time approaches. This way, you can charge your watch and have it ready to track that night’s sleep. It only takes about 90 minutes for your Apple Watch to go from 0% to 80% battery so consider charging your phone about 2 hours before bedtime every night to guarantee it works through the night. As far as data goes, Apple’s Sleep app is pretty basic. There aren’t as many bells and whistles or features as some of the other apps on this list, but if you’re simply looking for total sleep time and how your heart rate changes throughout the night, this free app will get the job done.

Sleep++

Another pretty basic but still effective sleep app for Apple Watch is Sleep++. If the AI features, timers, and other features of other sleep-tracking apps confuse or overwhelm you, this basic version might be the right fit. The simplicity of this app is what makes it so popular. All you need to do is hit the ‘start’ button before going to bed, hit the ‘stop’ button when you wake up, and read your sleep-tracking results on the blue chart. The chart will also show how long you spend in deep sleep. One nice feature is that Sleep++ syncs with your Apple Health app and will automatically log your sleep patterns when you activate it on your iPhone instead of your watch.

If you want to explore additional features, you can set a sleep schedule and sleep goals using this sleep app for Apple Watch. Thanks to its simplicity, Sleep++ only requires 6.9 MB to download, so it won’t take up too much room on your device. One downside is that the app includes some ads but you can pay $1.99 to remove these. Just note that paying this fee doesn’t add any features to the free app it simply removes those pesky ads. 

NapBot

If you indulge in daytime naps frequently, then this is the sleep app for you. NapBot is relatively new to the sleep-tracker world and is quickly becoming a fan favorite. NapBot utilizes machine learning to provide automatic sleep-tracking and deliver real-time data about your sleep trends, phases of sleep, sleep cycles, and more. With such an impressive amount of data, NapBot offers the most extensive and in-depth look at your sleep habits both day and night.

Despite having so many features, the interface of NapBot is relatively easy to navigate.

NapBot’s calendar feature gives you a broader picture of your sleep habits day by day. You can then click on a specific day to retrieve more detailed information. Here, you’ll find data about your heart rate, phases of sleep, and sleep duration. Although NapBot was first launched for the Apple Watch, it works independently of the iPhone. As of now, users can only see the previous day’s sleep but developers promise to unveil more features and capabilities in time. NapBot is free to download but does have some in-app purchases available.

HeartWatch

For users that want a sleep app that gives a more in-depth look at how their sleep habits are impacting their overall health, this is the Apple Watch app for you. As the name suggests, the main feature of this app is the heart rate, monitor. HeartWatch is the first app to track a user’s heart rate and then send an alert of any potentially dangerous activity. This is a great tool for detecting any underlying or undiagnosed health conditions including heart disease.

HeartWatch also tracks your sleep habits and maps your heart rate data in an easy-to-read chart. The goal is for you to compare your sleeping and waking heart rates to detect any issues or observe any inconsistencies. Users also earn heart badges for a quality night’s sleep. You’ll also receive feedback and motivational responses to help keep you on track to reaching your sleep goals.

One downside to this app is all the features and overlapping data and information. Because HeartWatch places equal importance on tracking your heart rate as it does your sleep patterns, this app may be overwhelming for those looking for a simple sleep-tracking tool. It’s also on the larger side, requiring 20 MB of space to download. If you don’t have health concerns or heart issues, you may want to opt for a less complex sleep-tracking app for Apple Watch.

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Gain Valuable Insight Into Your Sleep Habits and More

The more you know about your sleep habits and patterns, the better able you’ll be to make minor adjustments and improvements. Unfortunately, once you’re asleep, you don’t know much about what’s going on inside or outside your body. Unless you have a bedmate to tell you that you’re snoring, calling out, or tossing and turning, you may wake feeling exhausted and groggy but not knowing why. Using a sleep-tracking app can provide valuable insight into how well or poorly you’re sleeping and when.

If you’re an Apple Watch user, you can download any of these sleep apps and start tracking your sleep tonight. With built-in heart rate monitors, recording capabilities, and detailed sleep reports, you’ll be shocked to see your sleep patterns and trends. Then, you can evaluate this data and make necessary positive changes.

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