Sleeping, in theory, makes up one-third of our day (if you’re getting the recommended eight hours, that is). So it’s no surprise that a lot of good things are happening while we sleep.
Some of the best Garmin smartwatch features are used to measure things like your energy levels, recovery rates, sleep score, and so much more! And many of these metrics are best observed while our body recovers – in a deep sleep state.
In this article, we’ll talk about how you can maximize some of the most important Garmin smartwatch features just by wearing your watch while you sleep.
Some may be obvious, but others may actually surprise you. Let’s get to it!
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How important is sleep?
The short answer is really important.
The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) is an excellent resource that puts out all sorts of guidelines for everything from optimal sleep duration to perceived sleep satisfaction and healthy sleeping tips.
They even have the best mattress recommendations!
Based on extensive research, they’ve come up with some official guidelines of what recommended sleep durations look like for all age ranges.
I think we’ve all inadvertently heard of these guidelines and know that, in general, adults should be getting those coveted seven to nine hours of shut-eye.
There’s a reason I feel like absolute crap if I get anything less than six.
Getting quality and consistent sleep has a ton of health benefits, so when you don’t get that, it’s easy to see how it can negatively impact your health over time.
In fact, NSF’s official Sleep Awareness Week is coming up from March 12th-18th! So we should all be doing our best to practice good sleep hygiene and habits.
That’s where Garmin comes in! Many of their smartwatches are packed full of advanced features that not only monitor a variety of sleep-specific metrics but also increase the accuracy and benefit of tracking other biomarkers if you keep your watch on during your prime sleeping hours.
Maximize these 10 Garmin smartwatch features with nighttime use
It’s important to know that not all Garmin models have all of these features. Some of them do!
But most watches, regardless of how advanced the model is, have a handful of these different features.
1. Sleep Score
The sleep score is arguably one of the best Garmin smartwatch features when it comes to looking at sleep quality and duration.
The watch obviously can’t determine your sleep score if you aren’t sleeping with it on. I think that’s pretty easy to understand.
Checking your sleep score each morning gives you an idea of how well you slept and helps you determine if there are any changes you need to make to improve that score. It’s one of the most useful Garmin smartwatch features.
The sleep score is based on a combination of these factors:
- Sleep duration
- Sleep quality (sleep stages, interruptions, stress data)
- Overnight recovery
2. Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
Knowing your resting heart rate is an important insight into your overall health. Your RHR is how many beats per minute (bpm) the heart is producing while you are at rest.
“Rest” could mean sitting on the couch being inactive, or it could mean how your heart is performing while you sleep.
A normal RHR for adults is typically between 50 and 100 bpm, so if this is elevated, especially while you’re sleeping, you’ll be able to see that data from your watch.
This could also alert you that something else may be going on and that it’s time for a check-up with your physician.
To increase the accuracy of measuring your RHR, it’s best to wear your Garmin watch at night in order to see your truest resting heart rate levels.
3. Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
Your heart rate variability is another biometric that many Garmin watches are able to monitor.
The time between each heartbeat isn’t always the same, and by measuring this variability in time (e.g. rate), you can gather additional information about your heart health.
Looking at your HRV can reveal how your body responds and adapts to both stress and rest.
Acquiring this data can then be even more helpful in looking at overall physiological stress levels which help to determine your Body Battery (more on that later) and your sleep analysis.
Garmin recommends that in order to get the most accurate HRV data, you should be wearing your watch consecutively for at least three weeks. And yes, that means keeping it on overnight while you sleep.
4. Pulse Ox
Certain Garmin models can even be used as pulse oximeters. This determines how much oxygen is in your bloodstream while it circulates throughout your body.
Your watch continues to monitor this while you sleep which provides additional information about how well your heart, lungs, and overall circulatory system are working.
If you notice any numbers that are off (like if your O2 sats drop into the 80s), then you’ve got that recorded data to share with your medical provider.
Even though you shouldn’t use your watch to replace a true medical device, we think it’s one of the most helpful Garmin smartwatch features.
5. Body Battery
The Body Battery feature is unique to Garmin. It’s powered by the super-cool technology of Firstbeat Analytics and takes a real-time look at your body’s energy resources or what we often call our “juice.”.
It’s a comprehensive score that reflects your physical activity levels, your stress, rest, and of course, your sleep. We all know at this point how crucial a good night’s sleep is to your energy the next day!
You’ll get a Body Battery score that can range from 1-100, and this essentially indicates how fueled you are to take on the demands of physical activity.
Since determining your sleep quality is a huge factor in calculating your Body Battery score, it’s essential to wear your Garmin watch at night.
6. Training Readiness
Your training readiness score lets you know how ready your body is to take on a hard workout. It’s important to look at this consideration because sometimes pushing your body to its limits can be more harmful than helpful if you aren’t ready for it!
Your training readiness is determined by your HRV, sleep tracking, stress history, and recovery.
If you want the best cues to help you plan that super hard workout, wear your watch to sleep so it can do the work of telling you when you’re training ready.
7. Real-Time Stamina
Your stamina score comes in at a percentage between 0-100. It’ll let you know how much longer you can sustain your pace or output at your current effort.
Obvious factors like physical fitness and fatigue level come into play for this score, but it also uses your recovery rate and capability which are, in part, determined by how well-rested you are.
Stamina: (orange between 0–100%) shows how much performance you have left at your current level of effort and includes your current fatigue level with any temporary anaerobic considerations like sprints, climbs, and attacks.
Potential Stamina: (a white line between 0–100%) focuses on the effects of longer-lasting fatigue caused by muscle cell damage, central nervous system fatigue, and carbohydrate (glycogen) depletion.
When you deplete your potential stamina, you likely need several days of recovery before you are back at full capacity. If you don’t fully recover, your potential cannot be 100%.
To get the most accurate stamina prediction, wear your watch at night so Garmin can collect the best sleep data.
8. Daily Suggested Workouts
This Garmin smartwatch feature is available on most models that are equipped with GPS. Your suggested workout for the day (typically running or cycling) is chosen with the “just right challenge” in mind.
How does it determine a perfectly challenging workout? By looking at your recorded fitness level, recovery time, and sleep data.
If you’re feeling sluggish because you only got five hours of sleep, Garmin’s daily suggested workout likely knows that today isn’t the day to push your limits.
You’ll get a workout that still feels satisfying, but isn’t the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
9. Training Status
Another similar tool is the training status feature. This lets its users see how effectively they’re training. Garmin offers you 10 different training states, from a peak or productive performance to strained or overreaching performance.
This is determined using a ton of different data that is collected. Think of metrics like your VO2 max, HRV, oxygen levels, Body Battery, recovery rates, and the previous night’s sleep.
If you’re determined to reach your fitness goals, wearing your Garmin watch at night gives you the best and most updated training status.
10. Recovery Time
Your body heals and recovers with good, quality sleep. There’s just no way around it.
Garmin’s recovery time feature helps you to know how long your body needs to rest before it’s ready to hit that next hard workout.
It’s pretty obvious, then, that sleep tracking is the most important factor in determining your recovery time.
If you only sleep five hours, guess what? It’s going to take longer for your body to recover.
Manage to get a solid eight hours? Your body is likely be ready to go early the next morning.
I think this is one of the coolest Garmin smartwatches features because of how helpful it is for those of us who are active and truly rely on that recovery prediction!
Final thoughts on Garmin smartwatch features that improve with sleep tracking
Getting enough sleep each night is foundational to your overall health. Who knew that some of these Garmin smartwatch features relied so heavily on sleep tracking!
We hope you found this article helpful, and if you aren’t already sleeping with your Garmin watch on at night, maybe you’ll start doing so in order to boost the accuracy of some of these important metrics!