The most current smartwatch models are increasingly complete and one of the features that most of them offer is the sleep monitor. With this feature, the user receives a detailed graph on the watch (and cell phone) screen, often with sleep phases and other important data collected during the night.
This is already a very common feature, and of all the watches I’ve tested in the last few months, most have the functionality. Some more complete, others more discreet, the fact is that they all have an integrated sleep monitor.
The problem is that some models, despite being very complete in other features, leave a little to be desired in sleep monitoring. Or at least that’s what I noticed when comparing the data recorded by various models.
When I used the Huawei Watch GT 3 — one of the most advanced models of the Chinese company and one of the best on the market — I noticed that the result obtained with it was very different from other models I had already tested.
With that, I decided to expand the review to more models and make a more in-depth comparison of the sleep monitor present in various smartwatches. That way, I had a bigger picture to suggest which is the best option for you to buy if you are looking for something to record your data overnight.
It’s important to note that these watches aren’t necessarily the best overall set, but they do work best for monitoring sleep.
Analyzed models and comparison method
For this analysis, I compared the data of the main smart watches from the biggest manufacturers available on the market: the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro and Amazfit GTS 3, the Huawei Watch GT 3, the Galaxy Watch Active, the Apple Watch Series 7. I also used more professional models. , such as the Garmin Instinct 2 and the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar.
I didn’t have the opportunity to test the wearable in person, but I also added to the list the records made by the Galaxy Watch 4 of my colleague Felipe Junqueira — a product analyst here at Canaltech —, who uses the device in his daily life.
To have a yardstick on the reliability of the results, I wore two watches a night, one on each arm, and reversed their positions the next night to get the data from both wrists.
In this way, I could attest that certain models are more faithful when recording sleep data, while a more specific device had more discrepant results, in this case the Huawei Watch GT 3. But I will talk more about this later.
Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar and Garmin Instinct 2
These are the models that I liked the most to test and use to monitor sleep and I certainly rate them as the best options if you are looking for something that suits you well in this regard.
It is important to note, however, the price range of these devices. As they are more professionally oriented watches, especially for athletes who want more accurate metrics on physical activity, they are quite pricey.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar, for example, starts at R$8,000 and can easily exceed R$10,000. The Instinct 2 is more “affordable”, but more than R$5,000. Prices aside, I’ll explain why I’ve defined them as the best choice for sleep monitoring.
Garmin watches are the ones that track the most information during sleep. In addition to light sleep time, deep sleep and REM sleep — which almost any watch identifies — it also shows how pulse oximetry and breathing rate varied during the night.
Another important data is about the time the user spent restless or awake during the night. This way, you can have greater control over your sleep health and know how much you are tossed about during the night, even if you don’t wake up fully.
Amazfit GTR 3 Pro and Amazfit GTS 3
If you want to choose the best smartwatch to monitor your sleep at a price that doesn’t scare your pocket so much, Amazfit models are the best options.
In the last few months I’ve tested two models of smartwatches from the brand: the Amazfit GTR 3 Pro and the Amazfit GTS 3. Both offer basically the same features for sleep monitoring and, despite the GTR 3 Pro being superior, they both serve equally in this question.
In addition to the traditional sleep phases — light, REM or deep — wearables allow you to monitor the user’s breathing rate and heart rate during sleep. In addition, the report also warns if there were breathing difficulties during the night and if this level is alarming for health.
Despite being more affordable models, both offer more complete results than Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 line, which offers more accurate sensors for health monitoring.
As I said, their price range is more affordable: the Amazfit GTS 3 sells between R$1,200 and R$1,300, while the Amazfit GTR 3 is between R$1,200 and R$1,700.
Galaxy Watch Active and Galaxy Watch 4
I only tested the Galaxy Watch Active, but I also collected the Galaxy Watch 4 data from Canaltech product analyst Felipe Junqueira. From his experience with this and other smartwatches, the model is very faithful in monitoring and delivers data compatible with other analyzes made.
I want to emphasize, however, that despite being more advanced models and offering more complete monitoring metrics — such as ECG, for example — the amount of data obtained during sleep is not as complete as Amazfit or Garmin.
In any case, the South Korean giant’s wearables can record the level of oxygen saturation in the blood and even information about snoring — in addition, of course, to the same sleep phases as the other models mentioned so far.
The Galaxy Watch Active has already been discontinued by Samsung and it is rare to find it on the market, but the Galaxy Watch 4 is sold for prices starting at R$900.
Huawei Watch GT 3
This was the model that inspired me to do this analysis. The Huawei Watch GT 3 is one of the flagships of the Chinese company and one of the best on the market to track your health and physical activities.
And, for those who have never used other smartwatches or are not used to monitoring their sleep rhythm, it may seem that it is also among the best for this monitoring, but that was not what I noticed during use.
That’s because the results obtained by it were very different from any other smartwatch or smartband I’ve tested lately. While any clock would show me an average of 40 to 60 minutes of deep sleep, it would go past two hours, and sometimes even close to three.
The divergence in numbers was also repeated in light sleep and REM results. In fact, Huawei’s report showed closer numbers for deep and light sleep, while REM was lower. In comparison, the other watches analyzed did not identify in this way and had data that were more compatible with each other.
I emphasize, however, that this may not necessarily be a defect of the Huawei Watch GT 3 — or other watches of the brand. It is possible that the way it does sleep tracking is different from competitors. However, if you want something more accurate, it is recommended to opt for a model that has data more in line with other wearables in the same category.
The Huawei Watch GT 3 has a price range that ranges from R$1,700 to R$1,900.
Apple Watch Series 7
The Apple Watch Series 7, unfortunately, is at the bottom of this list. That’s because its sleep monitor doesn’t offer so much data to the user, it doesn’t even show the time in each sleep phase. In fact, the only metric — at the moment — is how many hours of total sleep the user got during the night.
I put it on the list especially for one reason: Apple has already promised that one of the novelties that will arrive with watchOS 9 — the next version of the operating system for the brand’s watches — is a more complete sleep monitor.
That way, when the update is definitely available, I’ll review the watches again and see if Apple’s system offers reports as good and complete as the ones we have with Amazfit and Garmin. Apple Watch Series 7 prices start at R$3,000.