Other than exercising and eating healthy, getting enough sleep is one of the most important factors in your life. That’s why more and more fitness trackers are including sleep tracking functions. Garmin is the latest to add new features to its smartwatches and trackers.
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- The SleepScore Max can help change how you track your sleep
- Garmin’s new Venu SQ offers pretty decent health monitoring for your money
- Fitbit VS Garmin – which one should you pick?
- Sleep Apnea? The new Withings ScanWatch promises to deliver where it matters most
Advanced Sleep Monitoring (ASM)
Garmin’s Advanced Sleep Monitoring (ASM) feature is available on newer model Garmin watches and trackers that include Garmin’s optical heart rate sensor.
ASM allows user to track their sleep statistics in the companion Garmin Connect app after wearing the device while sleeping.
Some Garmin devices also include PulseOx (oxygen saturation) and respiration metrics in their sleep analytics.
- Pulse Ox
- Pulse Oximetry (Pulse Ox), is a non-invasive method used to measure the saturation of oxygen in the bloodstream
- This feature displays how many breaths you take per minute
Not all Garmin devices include these features–so check your device’s user manual. As of this writing, the Fenix 6 & 5, Vivoactive 4, Vivosmart 4, and Forerunner 245/645/945 all include PulseOx.
Heart Rate Variability
Sleep monitoring depends on tracking heart rate variability (HRV). Heart Rate Variability is the time measured between each heartbeat. Tracking HRV improves the sleep feature’s accuracy.
Using data from HRV along with information from the accelerometer helps Garmin determine when you fall asleep, when you wake up, and what level of sleep you are in.
By including the optical heart rate sensor’s data along with three sleep variables–light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep, Garmin hopes to provide you with a detailed snapshot of how you sleep.
- Light Sleep: Eye movements and muscle activity slow down to prepare for deep sleep
- Deep Sleep (restoration mode): Eye and muscle movements stop completely. Heart rate and breathing slow down. The body recovers, building bone and muscle and boosts your immune system
- REM Sleep (dream stage): Brain activity shows almost the same activity level as when awake. REM sleep is critical in memory retention and information processing
When viewing the data in the Garmin Connect app, you see stats for light and deep sleep, and REM sleep, and your Awake Time. If your Garmin supports Pulse Ox, you also see the timeframe where your device captured your oxygen saturation data while sleeping.
Additionally, Garmin added a few new algorithms that hopefully improve accuracy even further, allowing you to understand what’s going on when you’re sleeping.
To learn if your Garmin device supports sleep tracking and advanced sleep monitoring, see this compatibility list.
Set your Garmin to showcase the most accurate sleep data for you!
Follow these steps to help your Garmin smartwatch or tracker get the best data while you sleep.
- Make sure you set your birth date in Garmin Connect–in the Garmin Connect app, select Garmin Devices > Device Settings or User Settings. Make sure to save those updated settings and then sync your device before hitting the sack!
- Check for any updates for your device and the Garmin Connect App
- Clean and dry your arm before putting on the device (avoid wearing sunscreen, lotion, and insect repellent under the device)
- If you recently worked out using your Garmin, make sure you rinse the device with fresh water after each workout
- Wear the device at least 2 hours before bedtime and keep it on while sleeping
- Make sure the device’s heart rate monitor is on (the optical heart rate sensor is enabled while sleeping)
- Keep the device fit snug around your arm, wrist (wear the device above your wrist bone), or your preferred body location
- If you have more than one Garmin activity tracker, set the device with advanced sleep monitoring as your Preferred Activity Tracker
- In the app, go to Garmin Devices > select the device you want as your Preferred Activity Tracker > choose Device Settings or Activity Tracking > select Set as Preferred Activity Tracker
- Set up Pulse Ox sleep tracking and/or All-Day Pulse Ox (if the model supports it) to continuously measure your blood oxygen level, or SpO2, throughout the day and/or while you sleep
- From the settings menu in the Garmin Connect Mobile app, select Garmin Devices
- Select your device
- If this is your first time, tap Get Started to set it up
Garmin and the future
All of this is coming following a partnership with the University of Kansas Medical Center. The company announced its partnership with a primary focus on sleep apnea.
The two have been working on a series of other projects. Showing everyone how committed to improving health and fitness with the help of wearables.
Garmin is also working to catch up with Fitbit, who has been leading the way in the “sleep space”. Fitbit’s trackers are well-documented to provide some of the best stats.
Meanwhile, Garmin has been stepping up its game and this latest update is another example. Hopefully, the continued updates will not only improve Garmin. But instead, will also push Fitbit and others to improve their various quality of life features.
It will be interesting to see what updates come in the future for Garmin’s wearables. The company is continuing to push the boundaries in some facets, but it’s nice to see them play catchup here.
Let us know if you have received the update on your Garmin wearable. Also, let us know how well the update works for you now.
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