How to Use Apple Watch Sleep Tracking

Here's how to get started with Apple's long-awaited sleep feature

What to Know

  • To set up sleep tracking, open the Health app, tap Get Started and follow the on-screen prompts to create your wake up schedule.
  • Tap Wind Down to set Do Not Disturb mode to turn on and display only shortcuts to specified apps before bedtime.

This article explains how to set up and use the Apple Watch's sleep tracking feature, which requires WatchOS 7 or higher.

How to Set Up Apple Watch Sleep Tracking

  1. Start the Health app on your iPhone.

  2. In the Set Up Sleep section, tap Get Started.

  3. Follow the onscreen instructions to configure the sleep settings. Start by choosing your sleep goal, which is how many hours you want to sleep every night. 

  4. Next, you need to choose your bedtime and wakeup schedule by dragging the outer ring around the clock. Drag the Alarm icon to set the wakeup time, and keep an eye on the wake up time above the clock and the total sleep time at the bottom. You can set your sleep time by dragging the bed icon. 

  5. You have a lot of options to configure here. You can specify the days of the week this schedule applies at the top, and scroll down to choose your alarm. When completed, tap Add at the top of the screen. 

  6. Add more schedules if you want to. You can create different wake-up schedules for each day of the week or combination of days, such as one schedule for weekdays and another for the weekend. 

  7. Configure Wind Down by specifying how long you want to dedicate to relaxing before bed, and shortcuts for your favorite pre-bedtime apps as well. 

    The Health app showing sleep setup.

How to Edit Your Apple Watch Sleep Settings

Later, you can edit your wake schedule and settings by returning to the Health app, or you can do it on the Apple Watch:

  1. On your watch, press the Digital Crown and tap Sleep from the list of apps. 

  2. If you want to modify your wake up for tomorrow morning, tap your schedule under Next. Then tap and adjust your settings. You can change your wakeup time, for example, turn the alarm off, or change your alarm sound. 

    The Sleep app on the Apple Watch
  3. If you want to change the wake up details for another day later in the week, scroll down and tap Full Schedule. Then make any changes. 

How Apple Watch Sleep Tracking Works

Once you have set up your sleep schedule, your Apple Watch and iPhone work together to track your sleep and help you wake.

Depending upon which watch model you own, you might need to charge it in the evening to get through the night. If you have turned on Charging Reminders in the Sleep section of the Watch app, you'll get a reminder on your watch to charge it if the battery level is too low to make it through the night.

If you have a Series 3, you will probably need to ensure your watch is close to fully charged, while the Series 4 or higher should have no trouble making it to morning with as little as 30 percent battery at bedtime. 

Here is what else you can expect from sleep tracking:

  1. Shortly before your specified bedtime, Wind Down will begin. Wind Down turns on Do Not Disturb mode and displays the Good Evening wind down screen on your iPhone which hides most iPhone features. To start any shortcuts you have specified for the window down period, tap Shortcuts to see a pop-up window with the shortcuts you specified.

  2. At bedtime, your watch's display will go dark, both to minimize distractions and conserve battery. You can tap the display to see the time, or spin the digital crown to unlock the display and temporarily return it to normal. After you stop using the display, it will go dark again until morning.

  3. At the same time, your iPhone display will change to its Sleep Well page, which hides most iPhone features (though you can still launch your Wind Down shortcuts). 

  4. When morning comes, your watch will vibrate to wake you and your selected wake up alarm will sound. You can tap Snooze or turn the alarm off either from the iPhone's screen or from your Apple Watch. 

    An Apple Watch waking from sleep mode
  5. On your phone, you will see a welcome screen you can dismiss to use your phone normally. 

Which Apple Watch Models Track Sleep?

While many fitness bands and smartwatches have had sleep tracking capabilities for years, the Apple Watch did not until recently.

Starting with WatchOS 7, though, the Apple Watch officially supports sleep tracking on Apple Watch Series 3, 4, 5, and 6. If you own a compatible watch, make sure you have installed the latest version of the Apple Watch OS to track your sleep.