Apple has been continuously updating the sleep-related algorithms on watchOS since the feature was released a few iterations ago. With the release of watchOS 9, sleep stages were added to the Apple Watch.
Despite all the updates, some users have reported issues with their Apple Watch not tracking sleep or sleep stages. If you are experiencing this issue, there are several steps you can take to fix it.
Fix Apple Watch Sleep & Sleep Stage Tracking on Apple Watch
1. Ensure that the Sleep app is installed
If you do not have the Sleep app installed, open the App Store on your Apple Watch and search for “Sleep app by Apple.” Then, tap on the cloud icon to install it.
If you cannot find the Sleep app on the App Store on your Apple Watch, you can try the following steps:
1. Open the App Store on your iPhone.
2. Search for the Sleep app by Apple.
3. Tap on the app to view its details. You will see a message stating that the app can only be downloaded on an Apple Watch.
4. Tap the Share button and send the app link to yourself via the Messages app.
5. On your Apple Watch, open the Messages app and tap on the link to open it directly in the App Store.
2. Make sure Wrist Detection is turned on
1. Open the Settings app on your Watch.
2. Tap on Passcode and make sure that the Wrist Detection is turned on.
With Wrist Detection enabled, your Apple Watch will automatically lock itself when it is not being worn on your wrist.
3. Avoid using shortcut
A few readers have informed us that sleep tracking may not function properly if you activate or deactivate your sleep focus using a shortcut.
To avoid this issue, it is recommended to either use a sleep schedule or manually turn on your sleep focus at the beginning of your sleep and turn it off when you wake up, using the Control Center on your Apple Watch.
4. Uninstall 3rd-Party Sleep Tracking Apps
If you have been using third-party sleep-tracking apps on your Apple Watch, you can try uninstalling them and see if the native Sleep app by Apple starts tracking your sleep instead.
Here are the steps to uninstall a third-party sleep app on your Apple Watch:
1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
2. Go to the My Watch tab and scroll down to the Installed on Apple Watch section.
3. Find the third-party sleep app you want to uninstall and tap on it.
3. Toggle off the Show App on Apple Watch option to uninstall the app from your watch.
5. Reset the Apple Watch Calibration Data
To reset your fitness calibration data,
1. First open the Watch app on your iPhone.
2. Then, navigate to the My Watch tab and select Privacy.
3. From there, scroll down until you see the option for Reset Fitness Calibration Data.
4. Tap on this option and confirm that you want to reset the data.
6. Turn off DND (Do Not Disturb) & Use a Sleep Focus
This change has helped many users who experience issues with missing Sleep metrics on their Apple Watch.
When you go to bed, the only active setting on your watch is your Sleep Focus, except for WiFi.
If you use a sleep schedule to automatically turn your watch’s Sleep Focus on and off,
1. Open your Focus settings on your iPhone by going to Settings > Focus.
2. Then scroll down and turn on Share Across Devices.
3. Select Sleep Focus to review its settings.
4. Next, tap on your listed schedule and ensure that the Schedule toggle is turned on.
7. Delete the Sleep Schedule and create a new one
1. Open the Health app on your iPhone and select the Sleep tab from the Browse menu. Then tap Full Schedule & Options.
2. To delete existing sleep schedules, tap Edit and then tap the minus sign next to each schedule. Confirm the deletion by tapping Delete Schedule.
3. To create a new sleep schedule, tap Add Schedule and set the desired start and end times for your sleep. Repeat this step if you want to create multiple schedules.
4. Turn on Sleep Schedule and Use Schedule for Sleep Focus.
5. Scroll down to Additional Details and customize the Wind Down, Sleep Goals, Sleep Reminders, and Sleep Results options as desired.
6. Open the Watch app on your iPhone and tap Manage Sleep.
7. Finally, toggle on Track Sleep with Apple Watch.
8. Reset Apple Watch
1. Connect the Apple Watch to its charger.
2. Now, press and hold the Side Button of the watch until you see the power off screen.
3. Now, press and hold the watch’s Digital Crown until the reset screen appears.
4. Tap on the Reset option and follow the on-screen instruction to reset it.
9. Unpair and pair the Apple Watch again
1. Bring your Apple Watch close to your iPhone and fire up the My Watch app on your phone.
2. In the Watch app, go to the My Watch tab from the bottom and tap on the All Watches option.
3. Under the MY WACTHES section, tap on the “i” icon of your Apple Watch that you want to unpair.
4. On the next screen, tap on the Unair Apple Watch option.
5. Choose to keep your eSIM plan while unpairing the watch in case if you have a cellular apple watch and finally tap on Unpair to confirm.
6. Enter your Apple ID passcode if asked and unpair the watch from your iPhone.
Once the upairing of the Apple Watch is done, give your iPhone a restart and then begin the pairing process. After restarting your iPhone, follow the below-mentioned steps to pair your watch back again.
1. Turn on your Apple Watch if it is not already by long pressing the side button.
2. Now, bring your watch close to your iPhone and tap on Continue on the Watch popup that appears afterwards on the iPhone.
3. On the next screen, tap on the Set Up for Myself option.
4. This will open up the camera of your iPhone with a square in the center of the screen. Align your Apple Watch’s screen, which is now having some animation of small particles, in that square.
5. Doing so will get you your watch paired with your iPhone. Now, tap on the Set Up Apple Watch option on the next screen. You can also restore from your previous backup if you want by tapping on the Restore from Backup option.
6. Now, proceed forward by following the on-screen instructions to restore the backup and you should be good to go.
Additional Tips to fix the Apple Watch Sleep Tracking & Sleep Stage Tracking issue
If you’ve followed the previous steps but your Apple Watch is still not tracking your sleep or showing any stage information such as awake, REM, deep, or core sleep, don’t worry. There are a few more sleep-related settings that you can check out to fix the issue.
Tip 1: Ensure to use a Sleep Focus
To make sure your Apple Watch tracks your sleep accurately, it’s a good idea to use the Sleep Focus feature instead of relying on a sleep schedule.
You can activate the Sleep Focus manually by tapping a few buttons in the Control Center before going to bed and turning it off in the morning when you wake up.
Alternatively, you can set your watch to follow your sleep schedule automatically by turning on the Sleep Focus feature.
Tip 2: Turn on Sleep Focus Manually
To activate the Sleep Focus on your Apple Watch,
1. First, swipe up on the home screen to access the Control Center.
2. Next, tap the icon that looks like a crescent moon, which is your Focus or Do Not Disturb settings.
3. From there, select Sleep Focus.
This will turn on the Sleep Focus, which will automatically silence notifications and keep your screen dim during your designated sleep hours.
Remember to turn off your Sleep Focus in the Control Center when you wake up to start your day. Alternatively, you can preset the schedule for Sleep Focus so that it turns on and off automatically, without the need for manual activation each night and deactivation each morning.
How to Schedule Sleep Focus on Apple Watch
To schedule your Sleep Focus, follow these steps:
1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
2. Choose Browse and then select Sleep.
3. Tap Full Schedule & Options.
4. Toggle on the options for Sleep Schedule and Use Schedule for Sleep Focus.
Tip 3: Ensure Sleep Monitoring is On
To ensure that your Apple Watch is monitoring your sleep, follow these steps:
1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone.
2. Scroll down until you find the Sleep option and tap on it.
3. Check to see if Track Sleep with Apple Watch is turned on. If it’s not, toggle the switch to enable it.
Tip 4: Disable Track Time in Bed using iPhone
If you’re only seeing a solid line in your Sleep app and want to see sleep stages, it’s possible that the app is tracking your sleep through your paired iPhone instead of your Apple Watch.
This happens when the Track Time in Bed with iPhone feature is turned on, which uses your phone usage during the night to analyze your sleep patterns. To turn this off and enable sleep tracking via your Apple Watch:
1. Open the Health app and go to the Sleep section.
2. Choose Full Schedule & Options.
3. Scroll down to Additional Details and turn off Track Time in Bed with iPhone.
4. Then, scroll down further to the Apple Watch section and tap on the Manage Sleep in the Apple Watch App option.
5. Toggle on Track Sleep with Apple Watch to start tracking your sleep with your watch instead.
Tip 5: Recreate Sleep Focus using iPhone
Performing these steps can help activate Sleep tracking for many users:
1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone and select the Focus option.
2. Tap on Sleep on the next screen.
3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and tap on Delete focus to remove any existing settings.
4. After deleting the Focus, restart your iPhone.
Once the iPhone is restarted, now it’s time to create a new Sleep focus. Here’s how.
1. Open the Settings app again and tap on Focus. Then, tap on the ‘+’ button at the top right corner of the screen.
2. Scroll down and select Sleep from the options.
3. Customize your Sleep Focus by following the instructions provided.
Tip 6: Ensure Apple Watch is set as Data Source
To make sure that the Health app is getting sleep data from the correct Apple Watch, follow these steps:
1. Open the Health app on your iPhone.
2. Scroll down and tap on the Sleep section.
3. Keep scrolling down until you see the Data Sources and Access section.
4. Check if your current Apple Watch is listed as the first device here. If it is not, tap on the Edit button at the top right corner of your screen.
6. Drag and rearrange the correct Apple Watch to the top of the list under Data Sources.
7. Tap the Done button once you have made the necessary changes to Data Sources.
What to do if your Apple Watch is not listed as a data source for sleep?
If your Apple Watch isn’t syncing sleep data, you can try deleting some or all of the sleep data stored on your iPhone.
1. Open the Health app on your paired iPhone and select the Browse tab.
2. Scroll down to the More section and tap on Show All Data.
3. Tap Edit at the top right corner of the screen.
4. Delete specific sleep data by tapping the minus symbol next to each data set or select Delete All to remove everything. Confirm your selection.
Tip 7: Check the Sleep App settings
To check your Sleep app settings on your Apple Watch, follow these steps:
1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch.
2. Scroll down until you see the option for Sleep and tap on it.
3. Ensure that Sleep Tracking is turned on in this section.
Tip 8: Cross-check Sleep Tracking Settings
Here are the steps to ensure your Apple Watch tracks your sleep properly:
- Open the Health app and select Sleep, then choose Full Schedule & Options.
- Toggle on Sleep Schedule and Use Schedule for Sleep Focus.
- Make sure Track Time in Bed with iPhone is toggled off.
- If you don’t have a sleep schedule set up yet, create one now.
- Scroll to the bottom of the Sleep page and open Manage Sleep in the Apple Watch app.
- Toggle Track Sleep with Apple Watch on (if it’s already on, toggle it off and on again).
- Confirm your Sleep Focus settings by going to Settings > Focus > Sleep.
- Open Next Schedule and toggle on Schedule.
- Double-check that your Apple Watch turns on Sleep mode according to your schedule and turns it off when you wake up.
If your watch doesn’t turn on Sleep mode automatically, you can do it manually from the Control Center.
However, if you’re still having issues, make sure you’ve completed all the steps in your sleep schedule settings.
Remember, Sleep Focus is critical for proper sleep tracking, so make sure it’s turned on when you sleep.
We hope the tips we shared were able to help you resolve the issue of your Apple Watch not tracking your sleep properly. However, if you are still experiencing problems, you can try backing up your watch and doing a complete reset of your Apple Watch.
If the issue persists, you can try using a third-party Sleep app for your Apple Watch to ensure that the sensors and other hardware components are working properly. AutoSleep is one such app that you can check out and evaluate.
Deleting the existing Sleep Focus and creating a new one worked for us, so it’s worth giving that a try.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section. Also, if any of the tips we shared worked for you, we would love to hear about it!