When the Apple Watch debuted in 2014, a notable omission from its tracking capabilities was sleep. When sleep scientist Roy J.E.M. Raymann was hired at Apple, the prevailing theory was that the specialist would work on the wearable and help make it a sleep tracker. That never happened, and Raymann left Apple in April 2017, according to the scientist’s LinkedIn page. That doesn’t mean the end of sleep tracking for the Apple Watch, though, now that Apple has acquired Beddit.
The First Apple Watch Might not Work as a Sleep Tracker
I’ll be the first to admit, the first-generation Apple Watch might not have been capable of acting as a sleep tracker. At least, not if you wanted to use it normally or heavily throughout most of the day. Apple advertises the battery life for the Series 1 as 18 hours for normal use. With that said, a reviewer from TechRadar was able to lengthen it to a full 24 hours with very modest usage of his Watch.
When I had my Series 1 Apple Watch, the battery would typically drop to around 30 percent by the end of the day. I charged it during the night, never bothering to try wearing it to bed. Charging the first-generation Apple Watch took too long to get a decent charge to last all night and then throughout the next day. I wouldn’t have even dreamt of using the wearable device to help track my sleep.
The Second Generation Fares Much Better
With my Apple Watch Series 2, things are much different. This is easiest described not chronologically through my day, but by explaining my charging schedule for the Apple Watch. At around 10 at night most nights, I put my Apple Watch on the charger. Typically, it still has at least 40 percent of a charge, and takes around 30 minutes to be fully juiced up. Then I go to bed, wearing the Watch.
During the night, Apple Watch is monitoring my heart rate and movements using the Pillow app. When I get up in the morning, I usually see 90 percent of a charge on my Apple Watch. As I write this, I’m looking at my Watch and seeing that the battery is at 86 percent. I’ll use it to check and delete email, respond to text messages, and possibly take a phone call or two throughout the day. The same reviewer from TechRadar estimates that the Apple Watch Series 2 can easily last for two days. I haven’t put that to the test, but I believe him nonetheless.
My Current Sleep Tracker of Choice
Things Can Only Get Better
If the first Apple Watch was a “nope, not gonna do it” for sleep tracking and the second was “it works with a quick charge,” I expect the next-generation Apple Watch will function even better as an all-night sleep tracker. Cupertino is refining watchOS incrementally, but surely, and the battery life of the device keeps getting better.
I would expect Apple Watch Series 3 to have even longer battery life, and perhaps even drastically reduced charging times. The W1 chip currently used in AirPods, BeatsX earphones and Beats Solo3 wireless headphones could find its way into the next-generation Apple Watch. In case you missed it, the W1 chip is what’s behind the extended Bluetooth range of the earbuds, as well as their amazing battery life. Pair that technology with the quick-charging capability found in the AirPods batteries, and you’ve got a real winning combination for a wearable device that can last all day, all night, and probably quite a bit into the next day.
With better battery life and faster recharging, you’ll be much more comfortable using your Apple Watch as a sleep charger. As Cupertino “bakes” the technology into watchOS, you won’t need third-party apps and the sleep tracking will have much deeper and tighter integration with Apple Health. As I’ve explained, even the Series 2 Apple Watch can work wonderfully as a sleep tracker, with just a short recharge period before bed.
My Predictions for Apple Watch and Beddit
I’ve previously written that I think Apple is going to set out on a new adventure with sleep tracking. I suspect that when Raymann departed Apple for new journeys, Cupertino began looking for a whole crew of sleep tracking experts. It found Beddit, made the right offer, and snatched up the company. Apple Watch will definitely include an integrated sleep tracker soon, I believe.
We might even see some of these sleep tracker capabilities in the next version of watchOS, but there may not be time for that to be refined and polished. Soon, though, I’m sure I’ll be able to use my Apple Watch as a sleep tracker without a third-party app. It’s already great with the addition of a sleep tracking app, so it can only get better.