Here’s what to do if the Garmin on your wrist has suddenly stopped tracking sleep. We offer troubleshooting steps to take and possible fixes.
How Garmin tracks sleep
All of the current crop of Garmin fitness trackers and smartwatches have the ability to track sleep. They are not top of the line, but they do a decent enough job.
The lower end wearables use only movement and heart rate to analyse sleep. The company’s more recent devices slap heart rate variability data to this, i.e. the length of time between a user’s heart beat. This helps with accuracy and the level of detail. Those with a SpO2 sensor even show how your blood oxygen levels fluctuate through the night and respiration details.
Essential reading: Top 10 gadgets for advanced sleep monitoring
The charts and graphs in Garmin Connect not only show how long you spent in light and deep sleep, but also in REM sleep. Awake time is also shown, along with a separate graph on movement.
Each sleep stage is important, but for different reasons. Light sleep typically accounts for over a half of your kip time. It is important for memory, learning, and letting your body recover from the day. The remainder is split relatively equally between Deep sleep and Rapid Eye Movement (REM). The first promotes a healthy immune system and muscle growth, while the second is important for mental recovery and memory formation. REM is when most dreaming occurs.
During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. The way you feel while you’re awake depends in part on what happens while you’re sleeping. Better sleep starts by knowing what’s happening at night.
Late last year Garmin has also added a sleep calculation widget and Sleep Score for the Fenix 6 range and some other wearables. Which means that if you have one of those, you can finally view your sleep statistics on the watch itself. For some reason only know to Garmin, this had not been possible earlier.
That update also slaps on a Sleep Score that goes from scale of 1 to 100. The higher the score the healthier your sleep.
Garmin refers to these features as Advanced Sleep Monitoring. The full list of compatible devices that offer this type of data includes:
- Descent Mk2 series
- Enduro series
- Forerunner 745
- Forerunner 945 and 945 LTE
- fenix 6 series
- MARQ collection
- tactix Delta series
- Venu 2 series
Will a Garmin track my naps?
Nap tracking was implemented years ago by Garmin but was very limited. Perhaps this is why the company has chosen to remove it entirely. Which means, unfortunately it is not possible currently to track naps with a Garmin watch.
This is a big oversight which we hope the company soon puts right. Tracking naps is important to those with sleep disorders, who work in shifts or just have an irregular sleeping agenda. This is where companies such as Fitbit have the edge over Garmin.
My Garmin is not tracking sleep – troubleshooting steps
There are some requirements that need to be met in order for the Garmin on your wrist to track sleep. Make sure to check all of these.
Also worth noting, you must let the watch sync fully with Garmin Connect in order for the sleep card to be shown. Sometimes it is worth doing more than one sync if the data does not appear.
Another thing to keep in mind are possible sleep disorders. If the Garmin is having problems identifying your sleep, perhaps there’s a chance your sleep is not good enough. Admittedly, it is an outside chance – but perhaps you have a sleep disorder. The accelerometer, heart rate sensor do their job well enough, but if your sleep patterns are disturbed they will be rendered useless.
What follows are requirements that need to be met in order for the sleep card in Garmin Connect to appear:
1. The device must be your Preferred Activity Tracker
In order for the sleep statistics to appear, you must wear your preferred activity tracker during the night. This is because information from your Preferred Activity Tracker will always have preference to data from other watches.
The setting can be found in Garmin Connect by going into Settings>Garmin Devices. It can also be tweaked via the website dashboard.
If you only have one Garmin registered on your account, you can skip this step. It should automatically be marked as your Preferred Activity tracker.
2. Make sure the heart rate monitor is switched on
In order for sleep tracking to work, the heart rate monitor on the wearable needs to be switched on. If it is disabled, the sleep statistics will not show or you might only see movement data.
Sometimes you may spot periods that are marked with “Unmeasurable” sleep. This is because the wearable lost the heart rate signal at those times. This could be down to any number of reasons. Perhaps the heart rate sensor was pushed too hard against the skin while you were asleep. This can happen, for example, if you were lying on your arm.
3. You need to have the Garmin on your wrist at least 2 hours before bedtime
4. Have you set the following in Garmin Connect?
- A valid birth date: This needs to be entered in the User Settings in Garmin Connect.
- Normal bed/wake time: In the Garmin Connect account User Settings, there’s a place where you are meant to enter your normal bed time and normal wake time. Make sure you have done this. If the watch is having problems detecting your sleep, try setting the Sleep Time range wider. This might be particularly helpful to those with sleep issues or shift workers. You could even try and cover most of the day, it is worth trying.
5. The Battery Saver mode must be disabled
The Battery Saver mode is useful as it helps to keep devices going for longer between charges. However, this setting must be disabled (for watches that have this) in order for sleep tracking to work. You can switch it on/off if you go to Main Menu>Power Manager>Battery Saver>During Sleep.
6. Check the version of your software
Make sure to update Garmin Connect to the latest available version. Use the app store to check and install any new version. The same applies for the firmware running on your watch or fitness tracker. Make sure you have installed the latest iteration. Software updates often contain valuable fixes which might solve any issues you might be experiencing with the device.
How to edit sleep tracking data on a Garmin
Did you know that you can edit your Garmin sleep data?
- Simply navigate to your sleep session page for a particular day in Garmin Connect.
- Tap on the three dots in the top right-hand corner
- Choose Edit
- Amend the Bed Time or Wake Time – as needed.
For a day on which you get no sleep results, you can use this method to enter sleep manually. The screen will show a button marked “Add Sleep Data”. Tap on this and edit the start and end times.
You’ll probably get a flat line representation during the hours you say you slept. But when you sync the watch the movement and other data should fill in.
You can do the same via the Sleep widget on the website dashboard.
Like this article? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and never miss out!