How does Apple Health know when I sleep?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How does Apple Health know when I sleep?” and dive in deeper about what other options you can use to assess your sleep stats on your iPhone.

How does Apple Health know when I sleep

The iPhone has no design integrations that can automatically detect your sleep. However, the clock app on the iPhone has a bedtime feature that allows you to keep track of your sleep time. To set up the Bedtime feature Apple states to follow the steps:

  1. Open the Clock app and tap the Bedtime tab.
  2. Tap Get Started and choose your settings.
  3. Tap Done.

The Bedtime feature records when you go to bed and when you wake up and automatically logs that data into the Sleep section of the Health app.

How does the Apple Watch track sleep?

If you own an Apple Watch, you can get better details regarding your sleep. Wear your Apple Watch to bed and it can automatically track your sleep. Additionally, you can create bedtime schedules to aid you in keeping up with your sleep goals. After waking up, you can access the Sleep app on your Apple Watch to learn how much sleep you got. Sync the Apple Health app with the Sleep app on your watch so you can view your sleep stats on your iPhone.

The importance of knowing your sleep

Much like maintaining a good exercise routine for a healthier lifestyle, getting a good night’s sleep is equally important. Committing to good sleep hygiene and being attentive to your sleep habits can make you a better sleeper. This can promote you to have a deeper sleep. A night of good deep sleep is important for your body to promote energy restorations, cell regeneration and strengthening the immune system. A consistent sleep schedule helps you to fall asleep faster which promotes better sleep hygiene.

How can I assess sleep quality using Apple Health?

Third-part party apps like the Sleep Cycle can provide greater detail about how you sleep. The app uses the iPhone’s accelerometer and microphone to monitor your sleep. It uses this data to measure sleep stages, sleep quality, snore times and more. When launching such an app, a prompt automatically appears during setup asking to grant the app access to information in the Health app as well as write permissions for sleep data collected. Tapping “Allow” links the app to the Apple Health app.

If you skipped the prompt in the first attempt, you can still sync the app to Apple Health by opening up Settings, tap Privacy and select Health. Then choose the app you want to select and give it the right permissions.

You can use more than one app to import data to the Health app. So, if you are trying out different sleep-tracking apps, Apple Health will prioritize the data in the following order:

  1. Health data entered manually
  2. Data extracted from Apple Watch
  3. Data from third-party apps or devices

However, you can manually change the order to your preference. If you end up using multiple methods to track sleep, the Health app will average out the data points or you can turn off the sources you don’t seem fit. Apple Health provides proper information in segregating such information. However, other apps can provide more in-depth information about the sleep stats, since, Apple Health only displays information regarding sleep times and duration rather than sleep quality.

Apart from Sleep Cycle, there are other apps that you can download on your Apple Watch that use the watch’s sensors to track your sleep. Examples of such apps include:

  • Sleep++
  • Pillow
  • Napbot
  • AutoSleep

Newer apps are always hitting up the iOS store that come with added features to track your sleep quality.

What else can I use to assess my sleep in Apple Health?

Apart from Apple Watch and third-party apps, the iPhone also pairs up well with fitness trackers like the Fitbit, Garmin, Xiaomi Wear and much more. Each comes with its own ways of tracking sleep activity and can easily be synced to the iPhone’s Health app.

Being able to use more than one way to track sleep can provide you with deeper insight into your sleep activity. You can then analyse data from different sources and be the judge of which apps are generating more accurate information regarding your sleep experience. This can help you assess your sleep quality and with proper consideration, improve your sleep as well.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How does Apple Health know when I sleep?” and provided you with details on what other options you can use to assess your sleep stats on your iPhone.

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