new Garmin Sleep Analysis
This is a fairly interesting, fairly important step forward for Garmin on the latest Fenix 6 devices. It’s currently a beta-only update and that means it should make its way onto everyone’s Fenix 6 adorned wrists within a couple of weeks. I’ve not played with it so far but this post is my take on the new sleep functionality that you now get to see on the watch (rather than on the app).
Let’s start out with some links for you to download the firmware if you want to play with it and then some Garmin-sourced screen dumps of what you can expect to see.
- Fenix 6s: https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=15166
- Fenix 6s Pro: https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=15164
- Fenix 6: https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=15162
- Fenix 6 Pro: https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=15160
- Fenix 6x Pro: https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=15168
- MARQ (not initially included but might be by the time YOU read this it SHOULD BE added): https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=15219
- not included on the FR 945 but here is the latest beta firmware: https://www8.garmin.com/support/download_details.jsp?id=14933
Minor: There are some cosmetic and performance improvements for the following widgets: Heart Rate, Training Status, Intensity minutes and Floors Climbed. Other than a throwaway sentence there’s not really much more to add on those changes, although Garmin is making steady inroads through necessary improvements to their watch UI. So all is moving in the right direction here.
More Significant: Moving on to the bigger change.
On-Device Sleep (aka new displays ON your Garmin Fenix 6)
Garmin first introduced Advanced Sleep Monitoring on CONNECT in June 2018, or at least that was when I wrote about it. I’ve said my piece many times about what I think about all vendors attempts at the accuracy of all of this sleep stuff so I’ll keep my new powder keg dry on this subject today. This is all VERY well-intentioned and the longstanding sleep metrics on CONNECT, superficially at least, still look impressive. However, I have always had this nagging doubt that the app-based or platform-based sleep analytics require just that little bit too much effort to look at them. Sure if you are REALLY interested in HRV and sleep stages then you can, and will, spend several minutes digging through your sleep stats each morning. That’s fine. I have had that phase in my life too but it is behind me now ;-). I have moved on to ANS Charge and Sleep Continuity offered on Polar’s Vantage watch, specifically what I like about Polar’s take is the simplicity of the data and the fact that I can force my blurry eyes to focus on what it says for about 10 seconds and then get out of bed and forget about it until the next day.
With Garmin, you couldn’t do that. At least not until now you couldn’t.
Here’s what Garmin now deliver each morning to your Fenix and there’s a bit more waffle (I mean INSIGHT) after the images 😉
- Sleep Score Insights
- Sleep Score & Interpretation
- Sleep Stages & Durations
and here’s how they look…
Those images are all pretty clear, right? If you have a basic understanding of a sleep stage and phrases like SCORE=73 and QUALITY=FAIR then you are good to go.
The new insights will almost certainly use Firstbeat’s Sleep Detection and Sleep Analysis algorithms. But there is nothing that seems to use Firstbeat’s Sleep Coaching guidance and I’m guessing that is being saved to be introduced another day once this is all nicely bedded down.
Brief Competitor Comparison
As a comparison, here’s how Polar presents similar information on IGNITE/VANTAGE/GRIT X, and you can see that there is some good summary stuff but then you get down into some quite gory details quite quickly. I normally look at the first two screens shown on the first two of these images and then move on to coffee.
However, my partner would DEFINITELY want to see Polar’s imaginary take on sleep stages, which Polar DOES offer (but only on the app) and that takes a sync and 30 seconds to access, although once you are on the app I really like Polar’s take on sleep. Well, now my partner could instead look at the imaginary Garmin take on sleep stages instead ON THE WATCH. Much quicker.
So what I’m trying to get over to you here is that there are different groups of us who want different things from our sleep analytics. I think Garmin is probably catering to the widest group of people and thus has the widest appeal with their new offering on the Fenix but, perhaps, Polar offers the stats that might appease a much smaller number of sleep gurus. Put another way: Polar, you need a Sleep Stages chart on your watches! There are some Polar firmware updates due soonish…but I don’t know what’s on them.