Track sleep with your Apple Watch

Disable this feature so your watch is less likely to keep you up at night.

Rick Broida/CNET

I’m tired a lot these days, and during my last physical, my doctor asked if I was getting enough sleep. Why, of course I’m getting enough… hmm, wait a second, am I?

There’s a related question: Am I getting good sleep? Well, I have an Apple Watch, and it can track my steps, heart rate, time spent standing and all that, so maybe I’ll just start wearing it to bed and get some answers.

Whoops. Turns out the Apple Watch doesn’t do sleep-tracking — not out of the box, anyway. But there are many third-party apps that can fill in this gap, keeping tabs on how long you sleep and how well.

The bulk, the brightness and the battery

Before we dive into the apps, let’s look at a few key considerations. The first is that you’ll need to wear your watch to bed, which can pose a couple problems. Never mind that it’s a little uncomfortable until you get used to it; there’s also the matter of the watch face lighting up when you make any upward arm movements. And if you think that face isn’t bright when it’s pitch-black, think again.

The fix: Turn off the Wake Screen on Wrist Raise feature, which you can do by pressing the crown, then tapping General > Wake Screen. Yes, you’ll have to do this every night, then re-enable it again in the morning.

A little tougher to manage is the battery issue. My watch usually has only about 30-40 percent remaining at the end of the day. If I don’t top it off, I’ll wake up to only about 10-15 percent remaining — not nearly enough to get me through the day.

The fix: When you wake up in the morning, toss the watch on the charger while you shower, eat breakfast and so on. After 30 minutes or so, it should be have enough juice for the next 24 hours. Alternately, consider charging it while you’re getting ready for bed, reading or whatever. The only catch is you have to remember to put it back on before nodding off.

Sleep-tracking apps

Sleep Watch is a good app, but it’s the most expensive, and its sleep-activity graph isn’t very helpful.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

For the past few nights I’ve been fiddling with three sleep apps for Watch OS. There are others, certainly, but I feel these are pretty representative of what’s out there. Here’s a quick overview of each:

AutoSleep ($2.99, £2.99, AU$4.49)

Tracking sleep means wearing your watch to bed, right? Not necessarily: AutoSleep works even if you don’t wear it some nights. When that happens, it starts tracking your…

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