Does Garmin Instinct Track Sleep? All You Need To Know

According to the NHS, a good night’s sleep improves your mental health, strengthens your heart, boosts your immune system, adjusts your blood sugar, and even helps you in weight control. But more than 30 percent of people think that they don’t get regular quality sleep.

So, if you’re one of these folks AND a Garmin Instinct owner, you may be wondering whether your watch can track your sleep and help you rest better at night. 

So, keep reading to find out the answer and see how sleep tracking works, how accurate it is, and which Garmin watch is best for tracking your bedtime adventures!

Does Garmin Instinct Track Sleep?

Garmin Instinct tracks sleep with a feature called Advanced Sleep Monitoring (ASM). Essentially, ASM keeps track of your sleep stages, including light, deep, and REM sleep. It also monitors oxygen saturation in the bloodstream while your eyes are closed.

To see your sleep metrics, you need to install the Garmin Connect mobile app or its web-based version. 

The app analyzes the data collected by your watch and shows you:

  • How long you sleep each night.
  • How long you spend in each sleep stage.
  • How long you are awake.
  • Your movement during sleep.
  • Your blood oxygen level.

A Pulse Oximeter or SpO2 sensor, which is only available in Instinct Solar, measures oxygen saturation. Your oxygen saturation level should be between 95 and 100 percent.

If the app shows you a number below this, it could be a sign of a breathing disorder, so you should consult with your doctor.

Given the raging Covid-19 pandemic, you should seek medical attention if your Garmin Instinct is showing concerning numbers. 

Another metric not included in the Instinct model but measured by several Garmin watches, such as Vivoactive 4 and Fenix 6, is respiration rate

Respiration rate shows how many times you breathe in a minute, which generally should be between 12 and 20 during sleep.

Read 3 Best Garmin Watches for Sleep Tracking.

How Does Garmin Monitor Sleep?

Garmin and other major smartwatch makers generally use two sensors, the optical heart rate sensor and the accelerometer, to figure out whether you’re asleep or not.

About five minutes after you sleep, your heart rate starts to drop below the average levels while you’re awake. So, when the accelerometer shows that you’re not moving and the HR sensor shows your heart rate has fallen, they know that you’re asleep.

How Does Garmin Determine Your Sleep Stage?

Your device determines your sleep stage using the accelerometer’s data and measuring Heart Rate Variability

Generally, when you’re in light sleep, your body moves more than when you’re in a deep sleep. During REM sleep, your heart rate acts more erratically (that’s when you have most of your dreams). 

What To Do To Make the Most of Sleep Monitoring

The sleep data you get from your watch is pretty comprehensive. But you can make it even more accurate and useful with a few simple tips: 

  • Keep the Garmin Connect app and your device’s software to the latest version.
  • Input your birthdate in the app.
  • Set your sleep schedule in the app, and update it if it changes.
  • Put on your watch at least two hours before bedtime.
  • Make sure your watch fits your wrist tightly but also comfortably.
  • Turn on the optical heart rate sensor, keep it clean, and protect it from any scratch.

Can Garmin Instinct Wake You Up When You Are in Light Sleep?

Garmin Instinct can’t wake you up when you are in light sleep because it doesn’t have a built-in smart alarm feature. Other Garmin watches don’t have this feature either. 

However, you can use third-party apps like SmartWake PRO to have a similar function with some of them. But some users have complained about having issues when using this app. They claim, for example, that it drains the battery or interferes with the body battery feature.

This function is available on a few other watches on the market, such as the Fitbit Ionic and Fitbit Versa series, and it works like this:

You set the alarm, the device tracks your sleep stages, and sets off the alarm during your light sleep, near the time you designated. This way, it’s more likely that you’ll wake up in a pleasant mood.

How Accurate Is Garmin Instinct’s Sleep Tracking?

Scientific sleep studies usually involve tracking brain waves, heart rate, breathing patterns, blood oxygen level, body position, and more during sleep.

Tracking brain waves with a method referred to as electroencephalography (EEG) plays a critical role in a sleep study.

Garmin watches only track heart rate, movements, and blood oxygen levels. Moreover, they monitor these metrics with commercial sensors that can’t produce results with the same accuracy as laboratory equipment.

A Garmin Health study on Vivosmart 3 shows the overall accuracy at about 70 percent, ranging from approximately 50 to 80 percent on different subjects.

It also shows that the device can determine whether a user is asleep with 96 percent accuracy while only recognizing they’re awake 73 percent of the time. 

Also, note that since these devices use machine learning algorithms, they gradually become more accurate.

What Is the Best Garmin Watch For Sleep Tracking?

Garmin Venu 2

Garmin Venu 2, GPS Smartwatch with Advanced Health...
3,010 Reviews
Garmin Venu 2, GPS Smartwatch with Advanced Health...
  • Suit your style with a smartwatch that's available in two colors and features a bright AMOLED display
  • Know your body better with extensive health monitoring features including health snapshot, Body Battery energy levels, sleep score, fitness age, stress tracking...
  • Find new ways to keep your body moving with more than 25 built-in indoor and GPS sports apps, including walking, running, cycling, HIIT, swimming, golf and many...

Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you’re looking for a smartwatch with lots of features for sleep monitoring, you can’t go wrong with Garmin Venu 2.

It measures all the essential metrics related to sleep, from heart rate to oxygen level and respiration.

Check more recommended Garmin watches here.

Pros

  • Showing the quality of sleep with the Sleep Score feature.
  • Monitoring overall energy with Body Battery function.
  • Measuring oxygen level with Pulse Oximeter sensor.
  • Respiration monitoring.
  • Tracking different sports like running, cycling, pool swimming, and golf with 25 built-in apps.
  • Contactless payments.
  • Fast charging.
  • Supporting local storage and listening to music.
  • High-resolution solid AMOLED display.

Cons

  • No smart alarm feature.
  • Lack of multi-sport mode.
  • Not providing recovery and progress insight.
  • Relatively high price.

Also Read “Best Garmin Watch for Sleep Tracking”

Final Thoughts

Knowing what your smartwatch can do in terms of sleep tracking is one thing; using that information in your best interest is a whole other thing. You need to understand how your sleep data can help you.

Garmin Instinct is a great smartwatch with excellent capabilities for sleep tracking. It can tell when you’re asleep and track your sleep cycles with outstanding accuracy. 

And if you’re looking for something even better, you should get the Garmin Venu 2, which comes with enhanced sleep tracking features, respiration monitoring, and contactless payments.