Garmin Sleep Analysis – new beginnings

Yesterday was a busy day with my Garmin, I spent an unusual amount of time with the Fenix 6X connected to my computer – that happened because I noticed a big map update for Europe and I waited 50 minutes for those GB of data to be downloaded and installed on my watch.

Later in the day, I noticed on Garmin forums (thanks Garmin for having those active!) a new beta firmware was released for Fenix 6 (version 9.92) and when the change log mentioned new sleep widget and on-watch sleep calculation, I couldn’t help it but install it on my watch.

Since the installed widget last night said it had no data to show (obviously), when I wake up I looked at the data and to my pleasant surprise it looks like a step in the direction I was long expected – a scoring for sleep and some insights of what the sleep session brings to you. I couldn’t judge the values or the split of sleep phases because I can’t compare those with other devices, but at least structurally this is what I was expecting from Garmin since I compared its sleep analysis with Polar’s. At that moment, I was saying that Polar is by far superior in terms of accuracy and details provided. My analysis is available here. With this recent move, Garmin is trying to close the gap – we will see how it goes, but it looks promissing.

New sleep widget on the Fenix 6X

The widget displays at a glance the sleep duration and score (presumably in a scale of 1 to 100).

For now, the data seems to be only available on the watch in that representation, but I would expect this to be followed by some updates on the mobile and web Connect apps.

This is the data on GC Web – nothing changed so far here

This recent firmware beta also brought some other changes (GPS 4.40, Sensor Hub 7.04) and some widget updates – the geek in me always appreciated the fact that Garmin is keeping us busy with regular beta updates, even though those bring sometimes regression bugs – at least you feel that the company is doing something (unlike Polar who is less transparent with the new features roadmap).

Enjoy your weekend (sleep) and happy running!

Author: Liviu Nastasa

Passionate about software development, sociology, running...definitely a geek.

10 thoughts

  1. That is a cool feature.
    I’m a poor sleeper so sleep is actually more important to me than fitness!
    What good is being fit if you are groggy all day? As much as I enjoy it, I can only drink so much coffee.
    I’ve seen various devices that measure sleep and all it’s details. How does a watch on your wrist measure what is going on in your head?
    I have a Garmin 610 and I don’t think this sleep feature is available for me.

    1. Sleep tracking is more algorithms than actual measurement, they can’t claim they really know what sleep phase you are in, but at least they try to do some approximation there. So far, Oura, Polar and Fitbit were ahead of Garmin in terms of sleep analysis – this is the first small step from Garmin into doing a bit more but it won’t be enough if the accuracy is not there. The body battery feature (powered by FirstBeat) it’s also interesting for getting an insight about how you feel (based on ANS data). The feature is now available only Fenix 6 line, maybe it will be extended for the recent devices as well (945, 245)..I doubt they will add it for the “older” devices.

      1. I haven’t seen claims of accuracy measured, there are some studies done with Polar, Oura (I may insert the links here), Garmin didn’t bragged so much about their sleep analysis capability. Regarding new features, I always feel the same, especially when the features are very interesting for me.

  2. I will love if they can add tracking of naps. maybe they think that’s not important but fo many people it is very important and if 5 years old Microsoft Band can do it why not Garmin wit 4x more expensive watch.

    1. I’m sure it’s not about technical capability but rather the focus of the product and engineering team. Maybe they will invest into something really good .. not just a catch-up play with the other players on the market.

    1. I think that hardware-wise, the 245 is capable of doing the same analysis, it doesn’t miss any sensor that Fenix 6 uses for this sleep detection. Maybe processing power… but still I consider this to be more a marketing and product positioning decision than a technical issue. So, we shall see what Garmin decides – based on what I have seen so far (collecting data for 5 days), the analysis is promising, in terms of scoring.

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