Wearing an Apple Watch to bed is a personal choice that comes with pros and cons. For some, the sleep tracking and silent alarms make it a useful bedtime companion. For others, discomfort, battery drainage, and potential radiofrequency (RF) exposure make nighttime wear unappealing. This comprehensive guide examines the key factors to consider when deciding whether to sleep with your Apple Watch on or off your wrist.
Pros of Sleeping with an Apple Watch
Here are the potential benefits of wearing an Apple Watch overnight:
Tracks Sleep Stages and Quality
The Apple Watch uses motion sensors and heart rate monitoring to provide detailed sleep tracking. Sleep stages like REM, Core, and Deep sleep are logged in the iPhone Health app. You can view sleep duration, consistency, and quality metrics over time.
Having this objective sleep data can help you adjust habits and behaviors to improve sleep health. You may also detect underlying issues like sleep apnea based on results.
Silent and Haptic Alarms
Apple Watches offer silent alarms that buzz your wrist gently without noise. This preserves sleep for a bed partner.
You can set multiple alarms with different haptic patterns. The watch wakes you by pulsing stronger vibrations when in deep sleep versus lighter stages for more seamless waking.
Provides Nighttime Heart Rate Data
Continuous heart rate monitoring provides insights into resting heart rate and variability overnight. Abnormal heart rate spikes may indicate health issues like stress or sleep disorders before obvious symptoms appear.
Lets You Track Sleep Against Other Metrics
With Apple Watch sleep data integrated into the Health app, you can cross-reference sleep patterns against exercise, diet, menstrual cycle, and more. This big-picture view helps identify lifestyle factors affecting sleep.
Motivation to Keep Consistent Bedtime
The sleep tracking visibility may motivate you to stick to more regular bedtime and wake time patterns. This benefits sleep quality long-term.
Feels More Hygienic Than Taking On/Off
Some prefer wearing the watch all the time to avoid having to handle it extensively to remove and put back on. This reduces contact with potential skin irritants and germs.
Cons of Sleeping with an Apple Watch
However, there are also some downsides to consider about wearing an Apple Watch overnight:
For some, wearing a watch in bed causes discomfort that interrupts sleep. The band presses on the wrist bone or irritates the skin. The watch face and buttons can feel bulky and heavy resting against the pillow.
Band Irritation and Infection Risk
Prolonged Apple Watch wear increases risks of skin irritation, rashes, and infection from sweat, dirt, and bacteria buildup under the band. This is especially so if you have sensitive skin or allergies.
Keeping the Apple Watch active all night drains battery faster. You’ll likely need to charge it every 1-2 days versus up to 5 days otherwise. Frequent charging is inconvenient.
EMF Exposure Concerns
Having an electronic device transmitting Bluetooth and radiofrequency signals near your body all night may raise concerns about excess EMF exposure. Long-term risks from this kind of exposure are still being researched.
While Apple Watch sleep tracking offers useful directional data, its sensors have limitations. Results may not be as precise as clinical sleep studies or dedicated sleep wearables.
Can Disturb Sleep Partner
The watch’s silent haptics and light-up screen when raising your arm can still disrupt a sleeping partner. This causes indirect sleep disruption.
Alarm Disruption Risk
If you sleep deeply, the Apple Watch’s haptic or audio alarms might not fully wake you. Being jolted awake suddenly by louder backup iPhone alarms defeats the purpose.
Can Catch on Bedding
Loose watch bands andhaving exposed hardware next to sheets, blankets, and pillows increases chances of getting caught or hit against surfaces. This can damage the watch or wake you up.
Hygiene and Skin Irritation Risks
Wearing a watch continuously creates sweat, dirt, and bacteria buildup which can irritate skin and clog watch components. However, regular cleaning and giving wrists a break can reduce this risk.
Tips for Sleeping Comfortably With Your Apple Watch
If you want to try getting Apple Watch sleep tracking benefits while minimizing discomforts, consider these tips:
- Wear it looser than daytime and push band higher on wrist before bed. This prevents pinching and rubbing.
- Clean watch and wrist thoroughly before bed. Rinse band soap and water, sanitize case.
- Switch to a soft, breathable band like sport loop or nylon versus silicone, leather, or metal.
- Disable Always On display, background app refresh, and notifications overnight to limit distractions.
- Set Watch to Theater Mode so raising arm won’t wake screen.
- Charge watch before bedtime to 100% so it won’t run low overnight.
- Try a few nights sleeping with watch on versus off to see if sleep quality differs for you.
- Use Apple Watch silent wake up but have backup iPhone alarm as a safety.
- Take the watch off periodically to let skin breathe and prevent buildup.
Alternatives for Tracking Sleep Without Wearing Apple Watch
If sleeping with your Apple Watch is ultimately uncomfortable, consider these alternative options for sleep tracking:
Use Apple Watch for Daytime Only
You can manually enable sleep mode and charge Apple Watch overnight. When you wake up, end sleep mode on the iPhone to log your sleep hours without wearing it. You won’t get detailed sleep stage data but can still track duration.
Try a Dedicated Sleep Tracker
Wearable devices like Fitbit trackers, Oura ring, and headband trackers provide more comprehensive sleep metrics and often more comfort for overnight wear. You can integrate their app data with Apple Health.
Non-Wearable Sleep Accessories
Contactless sleep trackers like those from Withings and Beddr rest on or under the mattress to monitor sleep via ballistocardiography without wearing a device. Some attach to pillows.
Manual Sleep Logging
You can always journal sleep duration, quality, and bedtime/waketime yourself. Over time, patterns may emerge to optimize. Or discuss sleep concerns with your doctor.
If sleep tracking seems to negatively impact rest, listen to your body and remove the watch. Quality sleep should take priority over quantified sleep.
Is it bad to sleep with an Apple Watch on?
Sleeping with an Apple Watch can be fine for some people, but problematic for others. Here’s a more detailed breakdown on the pros and cons:
- Convenient sleep tracking – The Apple Watch automatically detects when you fall asleep and wake up to log duration and quality metrics. This can provide insights into improving sleep habits.
- Silent haptic alarms – The Watch can wake you via gentle vibrations rather than disruptive noise which may disturb a partner.
- Continuous heart rate data – Heart rate tracking overnight can reveal abnormalities or health issues.
- Motivation for better sleep consistency – Seeing your sleep data daily may motivate you to stick to more regular bedtimes.
- Discomfort – Some find wearing a watch in bed uncomfortable as it can press into the wrist or feel bulky. This may disrupt sleep.
- Skin irritation – Sweat, dirt and bacteria buildup under the band from prolonged wear can cause skin irritation, rashes, or infections.
- Battery life – Keeping the Watch active all night drains battery faster, requiring nearly daily charging.
- EMF exposure – While risks are not conclusively proven, having an electronic device transmitting signals near your body all night may be a concern.
- Limited accuracy – Apple Watch sleep tracking isn’t as accurate as medical sleep studies, and may miss wakeups.
- Disturbance to partner – The watch’s haptics and screen lighting up can disturb a sleeping partner.
Overall, it comes down to individual factors and priorities. If you find wearing the Apple Watch comfortable and the data useful, benefits may outweigh downsides. But if it interrupts your sleep, it’s perfectly fine to take it off overnight and focus on optimizing sleep quality over tracking stats.
The Bottom Line
There are reasonable pros and cons of wearing an Apple Watch overnight for sleep tracking. It offers convenient wrist-based monitoring and motivation to improve sleep consistency. But comfort issues and accuracy limitations are common downsides.
Try experimenting to see if nightly use works for you. But don’t hesitate to remove the watch if it interrupts your slumber. Optimizing sufficient, high-quality sleep remains the ultimate goal, with or without a tracker on your wrist.
FAQs on sleeping with an Apple Watch:
Does wearing an Apple Watch at night drain the battery?
Yes, keeping the Apple Watch active overnight for sleep tracking does drain battery life faster. Most users will need to charge daily instead of every 2-3 days.
Can the Apple Watch detect sleep apnea?
The Apple Watch cannot directly diagnose sleep apnea. But it can detect heart rate variability and disturbances that may indicate breathing abnormalities to discuss with your doctor.
Is it bad for your health to wear an Apple Watch while sleeping?
There’s no definitive evidence of health risks from wearing an Apple Watch overnight. But some have concerns about skin irritation and unknown long-term impacts of EMF exposure.
Does the Apple Watch track REM sleep?
Yes, the Apple Watch uses motion and heart rate data to estimate time spent in light, deep, REM, and core sleep stages.
Can I shower with my Apple Watch on?
No, you should avoid showering with an Apple Watch. Exposure to soaps, shampoos, hot water, and steam can damage the device.
How accurate is the Apple Watch sleep tracking?
It provides useful sleep trend data, but is not as precise as medical sleep studies. Accuracy varies person-to-person based on physiology and how they sleep.
Can I swim with an Apple Watch?
Most Apple Watch models are water resistant enough for swimming in a pool or ocean, but you shouldn’t wear it in hot tubs or saunas.
Does Apple Watch sleep tracking work without wearing it?
You can track sleep duration without wearing it overnight through manual sleep mode, but you won’t get detailed sleep stage data.