The Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 is a surprisingly powerful sleep-tracking wearable – and it's hugely improved from the early days of Samsung smartwatches.
The Galaxy Watch 5 offers richer data, more metrics captured at night, and most importantly, feels like sleep monitoring you can rely on telling you about your bedtime.
If you've just grabbed a new Galaxy Watch and you're getting to grips with exactly what the smartwatch is capable of when it's time to drift off, we break down the key things to know about using your Samsung smartwatch to track your sleep.
How Samsung smartwatches track sleep
Before breaking down what Samsung can track when you're asleep, let's just go over how it's tracking your sleep in the first place. It does this in the same way that most other smartwatches do it, by using the onboard accelerometer motion sensor and its algorithms to detect when you've stopped moving around and in bed getting some shut-eye.
It will also make use of additional sensors like heart rate and a SpO2 sensor to track additional biometric data. You can also use it to detect snoring while you sleep as well.
If you forget to track a night of sleep, you can manually record from the Samsung Health phone app. Just go to the Sleep tile on the app and scroll down for the option to Add a sleep record.
Where can you view sleep data?
On the smartwatch, there is a dedicated Tile (widget) to review your most recent night's sleep. If you want to dig deeper into the data, then you'll need to download the Samsung Health app to your phone, which is separate from the main Samsung Galaxy Wearable app you'll need to initially set up your Samsung smartwatch.
What can Samsung track during sleep?
Much of what Samsung grabs from your sleep is similar to what the likes of Fitbit, Garmin, Huawei, and others promise to track as well. Here's a little rundown of what you can expect to see:
- Sleep duration
- Calories burned
- Actual sleep time
- Sleep stages (awake, REM, light, and deep)
- Sleep stages by the time
- Sleep score
- Sleep consistency
- Blood oxygen during sleep
- Snoring data
Some of those things above are more self-explanatory than others, but we'll go into a bit more detail below just what those various pieces of data mean in terms of telling you about your sleep time.
When you go to sleep, your body and brain go through different stages of sleep and those stages are broken down into time spent awake, REM also known as rapid eye movements, light sleep, and deep sleep.
In Samsung's Health app you can see a breakdown of those stages along with an explanation of what happens during those stages. Samsung will additionally keep a record of your typical sleep stage range once you've racked up enough sleep to provide it.
Your sleep score is a simple way to get a sense of how well you've slept. Essentially, the higher the score, the better your night of sleep is deemed to be.
This is based on a variety of things. The first is total sleep time. Sleeping less than 7-8 hours or more than 9 hours can contribute to a lower sleep score.
Next is sleep cycles. According to Samsung, most adults go through 4-5 sleep cycles per night. If you register 0-3 sleep cycles, that will lower your sleep score.
Movements and awakenings can also impact scores. If you've been less restless during the night, that will help generate a higher score.
Physical recovery is tied to the amount of deep sleep you manage to get. So if you score a lot of deep sleep time, that's a good thing.
Last up is mental recovery, which is tied to REM sleep. That's the stage linked to memory, learning, and mental health. A lower percentage of REM sleep will result in a lower score and a higher percentage helps contribute to a higher one.
Blood oxygen during sleep
Like many smartwatches and fitness trackers, Samsung's latest smartwatches are capable of monitoring blood oxygen during sleep, which can be another indicator of your overall wellness. You'll need to enable the monitoring on the watch or the Samsung Health app to start tracking during sleep.
When you do enable it, you'll see a record of it in the Health app. Samsung states that a blood oxygen percentage above 90% during sleep is considered usual. So if it drops, it will make a record of that. If you don't see data or there's data missing, that could be because your watch isn't sat snug on the wrist for the optical sensors to continuously monitor blood oxygen.
Yes, Samsung can keep track of your snoring. On the Galaxy Watch 4 you had to have your smartphone within range, but if you have a Galaxy Watch 5, it can all be done from the wrist.
It works by using your phone or smartwatch's microphone to record the snoring activity. To set up snore detection:
- Go to the Samsung Health app and go to the sleep tile
- Tap the three-dotted icon on the screen to open up the settings
- Tap snore detection and select to turn it on Always or just Once.
- Tap the toggle to Record audio
- Choose whether you want to delete audio recordings after 31, 100, or 7 days.
If you're using your phone, put it on a flat surface (like a bedside table) with the bottom of the phone facing the bottom of your head. Make sure the phone is plugged into the mains and your watch is wirelessly connected to it. Once you nod off, it'll proceed to capture any snoring sounds and make a record of it in the Health app.
Samsung wants to help you get a better night's sleep, so it's offering to study sleep patterns, get you to fill out surveys, complete checklists, and check out sleep-related articles to improve that sleep time.
Over a week of studying your data, Samsung will assign you one of eight sleep animals to represent your sleep type. These include unconcerned lion, sensitive hedgehog, easygoing walrus, and exhausted shark.
Samsung doesn't explain why it picked these particular animals, but it seems like an attempt to make the sleep coaching and tracking experience a bit more fun.
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