Wearable devices are mostly used as fitness trackers or smartphone companions, but they also have various features such as sleep tracking to help users better understand how they get their rest. Garmin has already been offering sleep-tracking features for a good while now, but it's now taking it to the next level by factoring in heart rate variability in addition to accelerometer data and heart rate per se. While previously Garmin broke down sleep cycles into three categories – light, deep, and awake – the update will categorize stages into awake, light, deep, and REM sleep. This way, users will get more insight into how long each sleep cycle lasts, and how much they spent awake rather than resting.
Garmin has also been offering features to track users' stress levels, and it relied on the same heart rate variability metrics. The new feature for sleep tracking will become available through a Garmin Connect update for a number of the company's wearable devices, including the Vivosport, Vivoactive 3, Vivoactive 3 Music, Vivosmart 3, Vivomore HR, Forerunner 645, Forerunner 645 Music, and Forerunner 935. Other Garmin devices, including the Fenix 5 series, are expected to get the update at a later time. Adding heart rate variability to its sleep-tracking algorithms should help improve the accuracy of sleep stages so that users get a better assessment overall.
At the same time, Garmin points out that the update could alter the amount of deep sleep registered by the wearable device, but that's normal since the readings will now be more accurate. Better sleep tracking should be a notable boost for Garmin, especially in its competition with Fitbit. The latter has been focusing on sleep features for a while now, and Garmin is now upping the competition with the latest update. Garmin also teamed up last month with the University of Kansas Medical Center to help study sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation, and will likely make more efforts in this department in the future to improve its smartwatches and fitness trackers. For now, the update has already started rolling out on June 15 to the aforementioned devices in Garmin's lineup, with more to follow in the future.