The Apple Watch has been on our wrists for five years now, but it still has one disadvantage compared to the competition. If you have been wondering "Does Apple Watch Track Sleep?" the answer right now is no - unless you install a third-party app. 

However that is about to change with the arrival of watchOS 7 this autumn.

The way Apple Watch sleep tracking will work is different to how it works on the Fitbit and other third-party apps already available on the Watch. Apple has rewritten the concept of how to do sleep analysis. Rather than show the user various sleep phases, as the usual sleep apps do, Apple will show the user how much time was spent in bed, and how much of that was sleeping. Apple claims that individual sleep phases are not as important as the amount of sleep - and it's the duration that Apple is evaluating.

It's not just sleep monitoring Apple is concerned with, the system is designed to help you prepare for sleep as well.

How to monitor sleep with Apple Watch in watchOS 7

Automatic sleep tracking is coming to the Apple Watch when watchOS 7 launches this autumn, here's how it will work:

  1. You will need to set up your desired bedtime in the Sleep section of the Health app.
  2. On the next screen you can set your requirements for how long you would like to sleep.
  3. Next set when bedtime begins and when you need to wake.
  4. You can adjust the automatic alarm clock.

Apple Watch Sleep Time

In addition to assigning your sleep times the system will allocate relaxation time for before going to bed, to help you wind down. Using Siri Shortcuts you could link this to your bedtime routine so that your iPhone adjusts the lighting, plays suitable music and even opens a book in the Books app. At the start of 'bedtime' your devices will switch into sleep mode. The lock screen brightness will lower and Do Not disturb will be activated.

Apple Watch bedtime

During the night your Watch screen will be dimmed - so you will only be able to see the current time and when you alarm is set for. And most importantly features like raise to wake will be disabled, so you won't be woken up because your watch screen came on when you moved your arm.

You will be able to view data in the Sleep app on your Watch and in the Health app on your iPhone.

Sleep Data Apple Watch

If you are concerned about the implications for battery life you will be glad to learn that you can choose to have the Watch let you know one hour before going to bed of the battery is lower than 30 percent. So you will at least be able to plug it in for a bit before going to sleep. Luckily most Apple Watches should be able to get about 24 hours worth of charge in about 30 minutes. Just don't forget to put it back on.

Right now if you want to use the Apple Watch to track sleep you could try a third party app, such as Sleep Watch (free, in-app purchases) or Sleep Cycle (free, in-app purchases).

Read more about watchOS 7 here.

This article originally appeared on Macwelt. Translation by Karen Haslam.