More important than the hours you spend running lung-busting marathons or lifting weight at the gym are the hours you dedicate to sleep. By skimping on the sleep quality, you risk injury in the gym or road.
Wait, there is more.
Without proper sleep the night before, you would feel weak, tired, and downright unmotivated in your workouts. Another likely outcome is muscular overtraining (Source: Sleep and Recovery)
If you are into serious training, you might have already known that deep sleep is inextricably linked to better recovery time. But how to keep tabs on your sleep quality or know whether your energy has been replenished during sleep.
What better option can there be if your wrist-based training companion doubles as an advanced sleep tracker? We all know Garmin’s prowess in sports and fitness tracking. But now with the introduction of ‘Firstbeat Algorithms’ and up-to-date sensors, many of its watches can tap into advanced sleep metrics. More on it later.
We have written this guide to shortlist ‘the best 5 Garmin watches for sleep tracking’. Almost all of these watches can go beyond sleep monitoring and are top-notch sports tracking devices.
In case you don’t want to read the complete post, and short on time. Here is a brief summary.
Garmin Venu 2: Top Pick
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music: Best For Runners
Garmin Fenix 6 Series: Best Outdoorsy Watch
Garmin Forerunner 945: Best Triathlon watch with Sleep Tracking
Garmin Venu Sq: Affordable Pick
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Do Garmin WatchesTrack Sleeping?
Here is a complete list of Garmin Watches that can track sleep (Resource: Garmin)
D2 Charli, D2 Delta series
Descent Mk, Descent Mk2 series
Fenix 5 series, Fenix 5 Plus series, Fenix 6 Series
Forerunner 245 & 245 Music, Forerunner 45 & 45S
Forerunner 645 & 645 Music, Forerunner 745
Forerunner 935, Forerunner 945 & 945 LTE
Garmin Swim 2
Legacy Hero Series – Captain Marvel, First Avenger, Darth Vader, Rey
Garmin has a fancy name for this feature: Advanced sleep monitoring (ASM). Unlike Fitbit, Garmin watches can track sleep during the day. However, there is a caveat.
The Vivoactive 3 series has the most affordable Garmin Watches in its lineup that offers sleep tracking.
What To Look For When Buying a Watch for Sleep Tracking?
Sleep tracking has long been a stronghold of Fitbit, but the company lost its fans when it locked the premium features for the Premium account and by limiting the tracking data to night sleep only. Its top contender, Apple Watch, has limited sleep tracking capability. The $400 Apple Watch Series 6 offers baseline sleep tracking (only duration).
So, when looking for a sleep tracking watch, you should prefer the accuracy of the data, the advanced metrics, and any actionable information. Also, you should pay attention to whether the watch demands extra dollars to unlock advanced features. Garmin Watches are best in this regard, but Samsung and Mobvoi have some great watches with in-depth sleep tracking enabled.
Fitness trackers are better than smartwatches if all you want is to track heart rate or sleep, why? For the simple reason that they are comfortable to wear during sleep. However, if you prefer health or smartwatches, make sure the watch is not too heavy or oversized so it should not disturb your sleep.
Almost all modern watches employ advanced sleep tracking methods to track sleep, so you won’t have to worry. Metrics like heart rate, respiration, body temperature, and blood oxygen all come into play for in-depth advanced sleeping data.
Most probably, you would get your sleep categorized into Light sleep, Deep sleep, and Rapid Eyes Movements. Quality watches also offer additional metrics like snoring, noise, and humidity. Some even go a step further by detecting sleep apnea (SpO2 Sensor is a must).
Also, the sleep data should be represented in meaningful formats. Most watches use charts with percentages or numbers, and graphs. But the good one follows an intuitive approach for even a child to make sense of whether he slept well or not.
Lastly, the watch should have a long battery life so you won’t have to charge it every day. Most watches these days, including the Apple Watch, hardly last for a day, and it is quite frustrating to wait for a watch to top up when you just want to sleep.
How Garmin Watches Monitor Sleep?
Garmin Watches have come a long way since their early days of motion and heart rate-based sleep tracking. It was never the strength of Garmin watches due to lack of accuracy and huge anomalies in data.
However, the company upped the ante by leveraging the ‘Firstbeat algorithms’ and advanced sensors. Interestingly, ‘Firstbeat Analytics’ is now a sister company of Garmin.
Garmin dubbed this new method of tracking as Advanced Sleep monitoring (ASM) that takes into account multiple factors including the heart rate variability, photoplethysmography (PPG), and actigraphy (ACT) data.
Thanks to ASM, the sleep data from enabled Garmin devices is no more accurate and thorough.
This video has the most comprehensive answer for you.
How to get the most accurate sleep data with your Garmin
The company shared the following guidelines to be followed before you monitor your sleep. These should be met to the letter and spirit to get the most accurate data from your Garmin watch.
Wear your Garmin Watch at least two hours before bedtime and obviously keep it on while you sleep.
Make sure your device’s heart rate monitor is on, and the device fits snugly without compromising comfort.
Lastly, Set your watch as your Preferred Activity Tracker.
5 Top Garmin Watches for Sleep Tracking
The list of Garmin Watches with Advanced Sleep Monitoring is Long and as we can guess, you won’t have the time to read about each and every watch. We have done the legwork for you in choosing the 5 best Garmin Sleep Trackers.
Garmin Venu 2/2S: Top Pick
Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 days Battery saver Smartwatch mode: Up to 12 days GPS mode with music: Up to 8 hours GPS mode without music: Up to 22 hours
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 10 days Battery Saver Smartwatch mode: Up to 11 days GPS Mode with Music: Up to 7 hours GPS Mode without Music: Up to 19 hours
45.4 x 45.4 x 12.2mm
40.4 x 40.4 x 12.1mm
AMOLED Optional Always-on Mode
AMOLED Optional Always-on Mode
up to 650 Songs
up to 650 Songs
Bluetooth ANT+Wi-Fi NFC
Garmin Venu 2 has been released for a while now and this second AMOLED Garmin is an excellent sleep monitoring device. Powered by the latest Firstbeat Algorithm (now owned by Garmin), the watch offers a range of health and sports metrics.
To be very specific, Venu 2 like other watches in this roundup breakdown sleep into 4 different stages namely REM, light and deep sleep, and wake-up times. A brief summary of which is displayed on the crisp OLED screen of the watch, a feature limited to a handful of Garmin watches. (Venu 2 and the original Venu are the only two Garmins with AMOLED display)
(Image credit: Future)
Surely the more detailed data can be found on the smartphone where you can dig deeper. You can even monitor steep trends to correlate with your training. The data also goes into the ‘body battery feature’ thatis a more comprehensivemetric to determine your energy levels during the day.
Apart from that, it also keeps close tabs on the stress level, blood oxygen, and respiration rate during sleep. You can view detailed analysis on the Garmin Connect IQ app on your smartphone or pc.
Garmin Venu 2 comes packed with a GPS, and therefore, can be your sports and fitness companion as it can track a range of indoor and outdoor activities. Plus, it is one of the best Garmin for HIIT and strength training.
The smarts include NFC payments (Garmin Pay), Music storage (Plus Spotify Offline), third-party apps, notification alerts. These handy features can greatly enhance your workout and running experience as you don’t have to carry your wallet or smartphone with you.
If accuracy is a concern, worry not, You can always add an external sensor thanks to ANT+ technology. Garmin can also be paired with Bluetooth chest and arm straps.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is the most popular GPS watch among runners. Even after the release of plenty of successors, it refuses to be overshadowed by its mighty sibling. Due partly to its attractive price point and party to its up-to-date features, this watch is going to stay relevant for the next couple of years.
Like the Venu 2, this watch offers advanced sleep tracking metrics that include deep, light, and REM sleep stages, as well as movement and how often you wake up throughout the night. However, you won’t be able to view the brief report on the watch, and the sub-par Transflective Memory-in-pixel (MIP) display is to blame.
As the watch comes with a Pulse Oximeter sensor, you can track blood oxygen saturation levels too. The watch relies on this sensor to enhance sleep monitoring and stress tracking.
However, some users complained that the accuracy is not at par with the latest Garmin watches. The watch often misses an entire wake time period and often registers false metrics (registering ‘light sleep’ when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom).
On the bright side, FR245 Music needs to be recharged once a week even if you opt to choose the GPS tracking for an extended period. Also, this watch is one of the most affordable watches for intermediate runners. (Not into music during exercise, you can save even further with the base variant, FR245.) It allows you to store at most 500 songs to flare up your training.
The Fenix Series by Garmin is by far the best outdoor watch. The high-end watches can track tons of sports, workouts, and fitness metrics. They nearly have everything under the sun. Also, there are multiple sizes to fit small, medium, and large wrist sizes. All of them are rugged to the core with non-touch screens.
If you can spend extra, the Garmin Fenix 6 offers much more than Venu 2 (in terms of sports modes), whereas, the sleep tracking is the same.
Fenix 6 seems to be a better fit as it would be your training partner during the day allowing you to monitor advanced metrics, and at night, it would keep tabs on sleep metrics. You can view sleep score, the hours/minutes of each sleep period (REM/light/deep sleep and awake time), and sleep quality notes.
You will know precisely how much you slept and how much you recovered. The ‘body battery’ metric relying on the sleep data would make an assessment of your recovery. As a rule of thumb, the deeper you slept, the most you recover.
Other than sleep, it measures Pulse OX (blood oxygen saturation) both during the day and while asleep, stress, and obviously the heart rate. If you are a hardcore trainer, you must know about the VO2 Max. This watch, like another premium Garmins, can record VO2 max which in simple terms means how fast your body can deliver oxygen to your exercising muscles.
The Pro models offer music storage and offline Spotify support, but you do have to pay extra. Garmin Charges almost $50 dollars for adding just the Music support.
Lastly, it is an excellent outdoor watch. With a rugged exterior, long battery life, powerful GPS, and preloaded maps and navigation features, Garmin Fenix 6 speaks for itself.
Garmin Forerunner 945 & 945 LTE: Best For Triathlons
Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE
Garmin Forerunner 945
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks GPS mode with music: Up to 12 hours GPS mode with LTE LiveTrack: Up to 10 hours GPS mode with music and LTE LiveTrack: Up to 7 hours GPS mode without music: Up to 35 hours
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 2 weeks GPS mode with music: Up to 10 hours GPS mode without music: Up to 36 hours
The only reason you should prefer the Garmin Forerunner 945 over the cheaper Forerunner 245 is if you need a triathlon watch with the best sleep tracking.
We skipped the Garmin Forerunner 935, 745, and 645 for a reason. FR945 has the latest ELEVATE heart rate sensor, which is more accurate underwater; a new GPS chip to optimize battery performance; and smarts like Garmin Pay and Music.
The latest features that we discussed in Fenix 6 are all available here: Pulse OX (blood oxygen saturation tracking), Accident detection and alert, Body battery metric, training load focus, recovery time, and more. (recovery time: how long it’ll take your body to fully recover)
The sleep tracking data is at par with Fitbit and Samsung watches, but if you are really splitting hairs, you may find it a way off. The Firstbeat Analytics runs the show here. It determines how well you recovered last night, and thus, gives you actionable advice to help you plan and improvise your training.
The watch is quite lightweight and you can wear it quite comfortably as you sleep. There is music storage and streaming capability over Wi-Fi. All popular music streaming services are on Garmin including Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, Deezer, and iheartradio.
Lastly, Garmin Forerunner 945 offers a marathon battery performance: Two weeks on a single charge if you turn off the GPS and Music. Whereas, with normal training for swimming, running, and cycling, the battery can make it to a couple of days.
Smartwatch mode: Up to 6 days | GPS mode: Up to 14 hours
Smartwatch mode: Up to 6 days GPS mode with music: Up to 6 hours GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm
40.6 x 37.0 x 11.5 mm
Liquid CrystalOptional Always-On Mode
Liquid CrystalOptional Always-On Mode
Up to 500 songs
Bluetooth, ANT+, Wi-Fi
Garmin Venu SQ is the affordable pick in this roundup, and as you all know, when companies offer something cheaply, they skimp on advanced features. Venu SQ and the Garmin Venu SQ music both have sleep tracking but they are not as good a tracker as the Venu 2 and Fenix 6 Series.
Here this video will explain to you why:
Unlike its bigger siblings, Venu SQ doesn’t show sleep data on the watch. Rather you have to open the Garmin Connect App on the smartphone. It breaks down the data into different stages but doesn’t give you any actionable advice on what to do with it. Neither do you get advice on how to improve sleep score, nor you can track naps.
Accompanying sleep data are the respiration rate and Pulse Ox given you have enabled them. The blood oxygen tracked during sleep can reveal sleep disorders (sleep apnea), just like Fitbit and Apple Watch. Likewise, the abnormal respiratory rate is a precursor of respiratory illness.
Thankfully, Venu Sq doesn’t skimp on Body Battery features that are all in one metric to assess your overall well-being. This handy feature allows you to plan your training sessions: when to go harder or lighter on a training mode, or when to skip a session.
There are some caveats. Though the watch has a GPS on board, the number of sports and workouts is limited. Also, the tracked metrics don’t go deeper as in the Garmin Fenix. The watch lacks an altimeter so the watch doesn’t track elevation data and is not suitable for hiking.
On the plus side, you can store 500 songs on the music variant for which you would have to pay $50 more. The watch is suitable for both men and women and is in the same price range as the Fitbit Versa 3 and Fitbit Sense. The sleep and fitness data is almost as accurate as that of the Fitbit Sense, but Garmin Venu SQ doesn’t lock the advanced metric to a premium account.
Venu 2 is the best Garmin Watch For Sleep Tracking. It has an advanced heart rate sensor, the latest Firstbeat Algorithms, and a crisp AMOLED display to view all sleep metrics right on your wrist as you wake up. The sports modes are plenty including the standards like running, swimming and cycling. There is music storage and Spotify support, and you get two size options to find your perfect fit.