The Apple Watch can soon track sleep

Matt Burns

Apple just announced a long-requested feature for the Apple Watch: sleep tracking. With this new feature, users can not only track sleep but create what Apple says is a holistic approach to improving sleep.

The sleep-tracking function works in conjunction with an iPhone to help a person create a better sleep routine. This feature is called Wind Down and is designed to reduce distractions on the iPhone and Apple Watch. When activated, the phone displays additional information on the lock screen, including how long it is until bedtime (pre-set by the user), and turns on Do Not Disturb. This screen prompts users to relax and meditate — instead of, you know, endlessly scrolling Reddit. When it’s time to wake up, the alarm screen has been reworked and now features a link to Shortcuts, making it easier to launch daily apps.

On the Apple Watch, when Wind Down is activated, the user’s default complication is replaced by a simple watch face.

To track sleep, the Apple Watch follows the user’s micro-movements and the rise and fall of the user’s breath. This information can be displayed on the Apple Watch or iPhone.

This isn’t Apple’s first foray into sleep tracking. In 2017, the company purchased the company Beddit, a device that goes on a mattress and tracks the user’s sleep. That company is still operating and available for purchase. At this time, it’s unclear if any technology or strategy is shared between the two parts of Apple.

Sleep tracking will come to iOS 14 and watchOS 7 later this year. The iPhone portion works independently from the Watch version, allowing users without an Apple Watch to still utilize the bedtime and wake-up features.

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