new Garmin Sleep Analysis & Widget Changes – On-Device Zzzzzzz’s

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.

What’s new?

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.

Firstbeat Powered

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.

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27 thoughts on “new Garmin Sleep Analysis & Widget Changes – On-Device Zzzzzzz’s

  1. So, it took them only 3 Generations of Fenix (5, 5s, 6) to bring back manual sleep tracking, something we shift working dudes were asking for since they ripped it off the Fenix 3 (and brought it back into the fourth sub-menu).

    1. I think there’s nothing coming. Garmin’s decisions are often incomprehensible. For example. The FR235 has no barometer, but it can give sports a real break. The Venu/VR4 cannot do that. They don’t have a break, their sports are stopped completely automatically after 15 minutes in Pause/Stopmode. It has a barometer for that. The Venu/VA4 is much more expensive than the FR245, but it cant do much more. But the Venu has so many bugs that you don’t even want to look at it.

  2. i just look at the garmin body battery – to me that gives you what you need whereas the sleep metrics are pretty useless

    1. Firstbeat’s Body Battery. Maybe they should just get Firstbeat to do the sleep as well.

    2. yep, i get where you are coming from. the body battery is closer down the data chain to the underlying HRV. all the sleep stages stuff just adds another layer of interpretation (and guesswork) and that’s where I have the issue.
      I’m trying to think of an argument NOT to use body battery…but struggling.

  3. The Polar seems to give some really great data. I noticed there it has beat to beat interval data and averages over time. Is Garmin getting to this detail as well plus ANS data?

    1. Garmin does have that raw data.
      I think, as I alluded to in the article, their method of data presentation is more towards appealing to the masses rather than the sleep analysis junkies

  4. I just have a lowly Instinct, so I get my sleep stages and most of my metrics off the connect app on my phone, which coincidentally looks just like that widget and always has. As far as why I got the Instinct, wasn’t a money issue. I wanted an old school simple black and white screen that was easy to read in the sun and had a long battery life. I think it’s a great watch, never has a hiccup and works flawlessly. I hope Garmin always produces a watch like this.

  5. Do you know if this widget is compatible with MARQ series? If so, which file should I download?

    1. Yes, you can go to the Garmin forums to the Marq section, and there’s a sticky at the top with a link and instructions on how to install.

    2. Nikos, MARQ always get any beta update coming to Fenix 6 line about 1-2 days earlier. Always. Just keep an eye on their forum section.

  6. I was looking at Firstbeat’s website the other day and was wondering why Garmin wasn’t using their Sleep Quality Assessment or other sleep functions. This looks like they may have now done that although Firstbeat’s website isn’t updated to list Garmin yet for the sleep features.
    I wish Garmin would give a nightly HRV measurement or even better an HRV chart like Polar. But still glad to have this and great to see Garmin rolling out a new feature well after the Fenix 6 launched.

      1. If it’s Firstbeat, it’s unlikely to come to the Forerunner and Vivoactive series?

      2. good question
        vivoactive is a money spinner and important for garmin i would guess that will have it (at some point).
        945/655 – i would have thought so too.
        but it might be one of those features that will not go to every possible device below the top ends of each range.
        OTOH sleep analysis is one of those key features that a lot of people think they want and it could be rolled out more widely. IDK.

      3. Hopefully. Firstbeat’s website actually lists four sleep features namely Sleep Detection, Sleep Analysis, Sleep Coaching and Sleep Quality Assessment. They can reserve Sleep Coaching and Quality Assessment for the higher end watches, but at least give Sleep Detection to the other watches.

  7. Garmin have the most horrible sleep tracker on the market – till now.
    It starts with the VA3. My sleep stats are broken like hell. 2 Minutes deep sleep or at max 10 minutes and in evry night in the first quarter. Some competitore (Amazfit, Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi) does a better job for half or lower the price from garmin.
    Fenix6 new stats could be the best solution. But they have to release it not only on the ****€ Devices. Xiaomi get the Firstbeat Stats on her 100€ devices.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think these Firstbeat features are as expensive as Garmin makes them out to be. Under $200 watches like the Xiaomi Mi Watch and Huawei Watch GT2e has more Firstbeat features than the Vivoactive watches.

    1. good question.
      i checked with a CIQ DEV and it is not possible to add a widget to a watch face.
      I was surprised…but there you go.

      1. It won’t show up as a widget on your watch face, and won’t show up on CIQ watch faces. But it is possible Garmin will create a watch face that displays some of that data. They don’t have the limitations of CIQ. One can also dream that they’ll add access to this data from CIQ, but I suspect that is a limitation imposed by First Beat.

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