I don't have a natural sleep schedule so it makes no sense for me to set one, it changes day by day and sometimes I don't even sleep.

Does the Apple Watch Series 8 track sleep without setting a schedule?

3 Answers 3


Yes - the watch generates all the data you need to track multiple naps or sleep intervals without setting a schedule or manually marking the start of sleep.

The app I use to track sleep automatically is AutoSleep and it will work for your needs.

I have used AutoSleep since before Apple included sleep focus and sleep schedules and it does everything you ask without needing to remember to set a focus, or change alarms or do anything except wear the watch and occasionally use the app on the watch / phone to validate and correct the algorithm. For me, the calibration works for 18+ months and it just manages to capture multiple sleep sessions a day when I nap or work well when I'm following a regular schedule. If I forget to open the app, I have complications on the Home Screen to remind me and it works even if I don't check in on the app but weekly at most (you can use it more often of course - just it doesn't need use to track the sleep once you set it up).

It integrates Apple's sleep analysis if you want but you don't need to do anything.

Here is a very good review of the "top three" third party sleep apps - all are excellent, but AutoSleep is the one for me after testing them all and the native watchOS only solution.

  • I see this app follows a schedule I can't disable, will it still automatically track my sleep? I just bought it, since I won't ever be able to remember to turn on sleep manually.
    – Nickotine
    May 28, 2023 at 1:29
  • I would reach out to the app support @Nickotine you might need to change Apple alarm or enable a setting I don’t but I never need to activate sleep manually with AutoSleep. Is that what you purchased?
    – bmike
    May 28, 2023 at 2:13
  • Sorry I'm talking about apple's sleep app which is why I got the one you recommended, thank you that's what I needed to know
    – Nickotine
    May 28, 2023 at 2:15
  • 1
    works perfectly, thank you
    – Nickotine
    May 29, 2023 at 17:54
  • Hooray @Nickotine - feel free to comment or edit my post if you learn something I didn't cover in a week or three using these app(s) with your watch. Sleep tracking is one of the very best things about my watch and it helps me a ton when work or life stress are high.
    – bmike
    May 31, 2023 at 14:03


You can manually activate Sleep on your Apple Watch or on iPhone in Health app.

From Track your sleep with Apple Watch - Apple Support :

Set up Sleep on Apple Watch

  1. Open the Sleep app on your Apple Watch.
  2. Follow the onscreen instructions.

You can also open the Health app on iPhone, tap Browse, tap Sleep, then tap Get Started (under Set Up Sleep).

Note : Your Apple Watch will track your sleep based on the sleep schedule you create or when you manually turn on Sleep Focus. In order to receive sleep data from the Apple Watch, it must track your sleep for at least 4h each night / each time you sleep.

  • this doesn't seem to work I've been wearing the watch for 5 weeks and still don't have any sleep data, been sleeping better than usual 6 days a week and I've got no data I'm on the latest ios on my phone and watch
    – Nickotine
    May 20, 2023 at 16:02
  • Oh I think what you're saying is to change the focus to sleep on my watch before sleeping?
    – Nickotine
    May 23, 2023 at 4:16
  • @Nickotine There's an app from which you have to enable Sleep. It's not a focus, it's a mode from which the Apple Watch deduces you are sleeping and can start recording how you sleep according to (1) your Sleep schedule (you have set) OR (2) whenever you start Sleep manually (see quotation in answer). Of course, each time, you will have to be asleep a minimum of 4h for it to record how you sleep. Note: I don't think the 4h include the breaks during the night (when you get up, etc.).
    – Thinkr
    May 23, 2023 at 5:43
  • sorry having to manually turn on before sleep is proving to be impossible so I had to give the answer to @bmike
    – Nickotine
    May 28, 2023 at 2:17
  • 1
    apple really needs to up their game
    – Nickotine
    May 28, 2023 at 10:16

If you are looking for an automatic tracking without a set schedule, check out the free Sleep++ app

It is about as accurate as you'd expect an algorithm to be at guessing when you slept (a.k.a sometimes/often wrong) but I like it for weekend sleep tracking because I don't set a schedule for the weekends.

  • Deep sleep and REM are defined by certain types of brainwaves and physiological states, an Apple Watch is taking these in count (it's on your wrist) to be able to define if you are sleeping. It's not just "guessing".
    – Thinkr
    May 10, 2023 at 5:42
  • Right… Apple Watch’s sleep tracking requires you to tell it you are sleeping. Sleep++ uses that info when you give it, but it also uses less information when it has less to give you a picture with less resolution. Apple Watch does not have any information about “brainwaves and psychological states”
    – dwightk
    May 15, 2023 at 20:27
  • Your answer doesn't answer the question. Please take time to re-read the question to understand what really is asked. Your answer only proposes an app when the question asks for "Does the Apple Watch Series 8 track sleep without setting a schedule?". And blaming @bmike 's answer wouldn't be a solution since they actually answered the question in the first paragraph - repeating what I said but I guess it's alright since they added a recommendation.
    – Thinkr
    May 16, 2023 at 5:35
  • 👍 sounds good… have a nice day
    – dwightk
    Jun 2, 2023 at 12:05

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