This month, GPS navigation and wearable technology specialists Garmin have quietly rolled out a software upgrade which significantly improve the sleep monitoring accuracy and functionality of its smartwatches and activity trackers.

Garmin Connect, the app that powers its wearables now features advanced sleep monitoring, which offers capabilities similar to that of its rival FitBit, who rolled out a similar upgrade to their sleep tracking algorithms last year.

The two stand out features of the update are the ability to now track sleep stages, and the addition of heart-rate variability as a metric in its sleep-sensing algorithms.

>> Read More: Garmin VivoSmart HR+ Review

Garmin sleep stages

Previously, Garmin Connect only allowed you to see your sleep cycles with a breakdown consisting of; light sleep, deep sleep and awake time.

Now, the upgrade means you can also track the amount of time you spent in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.

REM sleep, the time when we experience most of our dreaming is a vital stage of sleep associated with memories, emotional processing and lots more.

Compare Garmin SmartWatches with Advanced Sleep Tracking

Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch
Garmin Vivosmart 3
Garmin-Forerunner 645
Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch - Black & Stainless
Garmin vivosmart 3 - Black, L
Garmin Forerunner 645, GPS Running Watch with Garmin Pay contactless payments and Wrist-Based Heart Rate, Sandstone Colored Band, 010-01863-01
Garmin Fenix 3 HR, Gray
712 Reviews
409 Reviews
88 Reviews
1150 Reviews
Garmin Vivoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch
Garmin vívoactive 3 GPS Smartwatch - Black & Stainless
712 Reviews
Garmin Vivosmart 3
Garmin vivosmart 3 - Black, L
409 Reviews
Garmin-Forerunner 645
Garmin Forerunner 645, GPS Running Watch with Garmin Pay contactless payments and Wrist-Based Heart Rate, Sandstone Colored Band, 010-01863-01
88 Reviews
Garmin Fenix 3 HR
Garmin Fenix 3 HR, Gray
1150 Reviews

Details and pricing last updated at 2018-09-18 at 08:26 . Links and images via Amazon Product Advertising API

Heart rate variability

The other big update is the ability for Garmin’s wearables to measure heart-rate variability (HRV). Whilst many of its smartwatches could previously measure heart rate from its from the optical HR sensor, Garmin says that incorporating HRV into its sleep algorithms enables more accuracy and “to better measure your time awake and time spent in each sleep stage.”The update is available immediately for the following Garmin watches:

  • Forerunner 645
  • Forerunner 935
  • vívosport
  • vívosmart 3
  • vívomove HR
  • vívoactive3
  • vivoactive 3 Music
  • Forerunner 645 Music


and will be available on other wearables and smartwatches like the Fenix 5 line of devices soon.