Garmin’s sleep tracking just got more accurate thanks to this Nap Detection upgrade

Garmin Watch wearer in bed
(Image credit: Garmin)

Garmin has rolled out an update to its Nap Detection feature, allowing users to manually input the start and end time of a nap in Garmin Connect.

Nap Detection, first released with the Garmin Venu 3 in September 2023, is designed to detect daytime sleep without any manual input. It records up to three hours, aiming to use your accelerometer and other physiological sensors, like heart rate, to automatically detect when you’re sleeping outside your normal sleep window. 

However, even the best Garmin watch might also pick up naps when they didn’t happen – for example, if you’re just resting on the sofa – or fail to recognize naps you do take. Automatic detection of any kind, especially first-generation tech, is never perfect.

Manual Nap Detection aims to solve those problems. By accessing the Naps page on Garmin Connect you’re able to manually add a nap to your records, adjusting the start and end times as needed. As long as you were wearing your Garmin watch during the nap, it will already have recorded your heart rate, skin temperature, and so on, so by manually adding a nap you’re just adding a ‘tag’ of sorts to identify that this is what your metrics looked like during your snooze.

It’s somewhat similar to the Oura Ring Generation 3's Tag feature, which allows you to label your timeline of metrics with naps, mealtimes, workouts and more. Manual Nap Detection is available on many users’ Garmin Connect apps now. 

Analysis: accuracy is important

A man waking up in bed after a good night's sleep

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manually editing naps sounds fiddly, but Garmin users are used to diving into their data and experiencing health metrics in all their complexity. A manual nap edit means greater accuracy when it comes to monitoring your energy levels, with sleep tracking contributing to your Body Battery and Training Readiness scores.  

This is certainly helpful, with daytime naps having been found to boost energy and cognitive performance. According to researchers from Flinders University in Australia, even just five minutes of napping can improve cognitive function and reduce sleepiness.

It’s a change we expect the Garmin community to welcome, although we’re hoping that Garmin’s automatic Nap Detection software becomes more accurate with subsequent releases, making the manual feature moot. However, it's an area where Garmin is still leagues ahead of rivals like the best Apple Watches, none of which currently offer nap-detection features. 

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Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.