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How Useful Is Garmin’s Sleep Tracking? Complete Vivosmart 4 Review

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Do you sleep a whole 8 hours and wake up not feeling rested? Do you have brain fog during the day or struggle with daytime tiredness? If so, the problem could be you’re not getting quality sleep. To solve this problem, you’ll need to know where your sleep is coming up short.

That’s where the Garmin Vivosmart 4 fitness and sleep tracker can help.

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is more than a fitness tracker. It’s like a virtual Swiss Army knife of wearable technology that tracks activity and has sophisticated Garmin sleep tracking technology. It’s capable of providing you with detailed information like:

  • how long you were in REM sleep
  • how restless your sleep was
  • how many hours you slept
  • how your blood oxygen levels changed during sleep

This information can give you a starting point for a discussion with your doctor about ways you can improve your sleep– and start feeling like you again. In the coming paragraphs, we’ll take a deep dive into the Garmin with our Vivosmart 4 Review. Find out more about what this smartwatch can do, and see how it can improve your sleep and overall health.

What Does the Vivosmart 4 Do? How Does it Work?

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is an advanced activity tracker that includes a Pulse Ox sensor. By measuring blood oxygen and movements during the night, the Vivosmart 4 can give you more insight on how you’re sleeping than any other device available in this price range.

You may be wondering:

“How does measuring blood oxygen help improve my sleep?”

Your body needs oxygen to survive and thrive. When your oxygen levels drop during sleep, it could indicate a host of problems: The Garmin Vivosmart 4 makes it possible to know right away if you might not be getting enough oxygen during sleep.

It does this by using a Pulse Oximeter.

What’s a Pulse Oximeter?

The Pulse Oximeter takes periodic readings of your blood oxygen levels during the night, and can tell if your blood oxygen is dipping too low.

Here’s some important facts to know about blood oxygen:

  1. As long as blood oxygen levels remain above 95%, your organs and tissues are getting enough oxygen to function well.
  2. If your blood oxygen saturation drops below 95%, you’ll begin to experience some of the sleep problems you may know all too well.

So, what causes oxygen to drop during sleep?

Most of the time, oxygen levels can drop if there’s a blockage of the airway, created by tissues in the windpipe that relax during sleep. Such a blockage prevents air and valuable oxygen from reaching the lungs.

If this is happening, a condition like Sleep Apnea might be in play. Sometimes other respiratory conditions, like COPD or Emphysema can cause a drop in blood oxygen too.

How can you tell if you have Sleep Apnea?

You’ll need to see a doctor and undergo a sleep study in order to know for sure, but the Vivosmart 4 can help you see if you have a problem in the first place.

This is why wearables are the future…

Did you know that millions of Americans go on with their life with undetected Sleep Apnea? Imagine the millions of Americans forcing a smile every day not knowing why they are constantly fatigued. Wearables are great because they help provide the answers to our burning health questions, giving us amazing feedback and insight into our bodies.

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is a game-changer because it can give you an idea of why your sleep isn’t effective, without spending as much money. The data from the Garmin can help your doctor as you plan your next steps.

Think You May Have Sleep Apnea? Take Our FREE Sleep Apnea Quiz!

Discover your risk for sleep apnea with just a few clicks! Our FREE Quiz is super simple and easy to use. You’ll receive a personalized score that will tell you how likely you are to have this sleep disorder and the next steps you can take for diagnosis and treatment.

What Else Can the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Do?

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 is an outstanding example of multi-functional wearable technology capable of doing lots of amazing things.

Did you know…

Not only does the Vivosmart 4 track your oxygen levels, it also tracks your SLEEP STAGES!

What the heck are sleep stages?

During the night, you’ll drift in and out of periods of light sleep, deep sleep, and REM sleep.

Light Sleep: This is where you’ll spend most of the night. In light sleep, you’re easily awakened, and your body is hard at work cataloging memories and emotions.

Deep Sleep: This is the sleep stage where your body repairs damaged cells, and it’s also the stage where you grow. You’ll normally spend time in all 3 stages.

REM Sleep: This is the stage where dreaming takes place, and where the magic of the brain happens. You’re processing memories and clearing out the clutter, and you’ll need REM sleep to feel rested and restored in the morning.

The sleep tracker is able to determine how many times you drift into your most productive sleep stages during the night. When you wake up, you’ll have an accurate report of how productive your sleep was the night before.

By helping you discover where your sleep is causing problems, you’ll be able to go to your doctor with a wealth of information that can help you get the right treatment, faster.

How to Track Sleep Using the Garmin Vivosmart?

You’ll get all of your data on the Garmin Connect App, which is available for both Apple and Android. After you wake up, the app displays the following data about sleep:

  • Stages of Sleep
  • Time Spent in Light, Deep, and REM Sleep
  • Blood Oxygen Levels
  • Movement During the Night

These readings give you a complete picture of how successful your last night of sleep actually was, right on your phone. You’ll be able to see useful graphs and charts that show you not only what happened, but when. It allows you to see how your sleep has many different facets, and how they’re all connected.

The Garmin Connect App also keeps track of your fitness and activity data, such as:

  • Steps
  • Floors
  • Heart Rate
  • Fitness Intensity – Literally measuring the amount of time your workout was at its peak!
  • And so much more

With the Garmin Vivosmart 4, you can literally hack your workout, helping you increase performance and optimize results. The Vivosmart 4 can do so much for your health and your sleep.

The big question that comes to mind when you look at a fitness and sleep tracker like the Vivosmart 4 boils down to accuracy.

Just how accurate is Garmin’s sleep tracking? Can it diagnose sleep problems?

The short answer is that Garmin’s activity tracker is not meant to be a scientific instrument or a substitute for a sleep study. For example, some users have reported the wearable thinks you’re sleeping when you’re watching TV because your hands aren’t moving… But it still has its uses.

In order to get diagnosed with Sleep Apnea, you’ll still need to verify with a sleep study that the diagnosis is correct. Perhaps someday in the future, we’ll be able to diagnose medical conditions from wearable technology, but that day hasn’t arrived… yet.

How is the Garmin Vivosmart 4 Different from Fitbit?

The Garmin Vivosmart 4 and the Fitbit Charge 3 are very similar devices. Both are elite fitness and activity trackers, able to take measurements from the body and provide the user with up to the minute information. The big difference between the two boils down to the ability to track sleep and oxygen levels.

When Fitbit launched the Charge 3, oxygen tracking technology wasn’t ready. Currently (February 1, 2019), Fitbit has still not launched a version with oxygen tracking.

Today, there’s no mention of it on Fitbit’s website, and numerous complaints have come in from consumers who purchased one expecting it to have oxygen saturation tracking.

It’s not clear from Fitbit’s website if the oxygen sensor will be able to measure oxygen all night long. Sp02 sensors are used for spot checking blood oxygen levels.

Despite the bad news from Fitbit, the Garmin sleep tracking technology works and is available now!

Garmin tracks sleep all night long, measures oxygen levels, and tracks movements during sleep. This makes it possible to get a good idea of how good (or poor) your sleep may be. Overall, the Vivosmart looks like more mature sleep tracking technology and is your watch if you are serious about getting to the bottom of your sleep problems.

The Future of Wearables

A recent scientific article in the medical journal F1000 Research found that wearable and mobile technology is advancing fast enough to where it could be possible for mobile and wearable technology to be used in a diagnostic capacity.

The article argued that the benefits to the patient would be huge, as it would mean less discomfort during the study, and it would allow more Americans to have better access to healthcare overall.

Machine learning technology is advancing rapidly, and as recently as 2014, a group of scientists was able to develop a program to diagnose Sleep Apnea, using heart data from a smartwatch and a cellular phone. The invention has not yet been approved by the FDA.

The FDA would have to approve wearables and mobile devices to be used for diagnosis, and like most regulatory agencies, that process could be awhile. But it’s crazy to think that the technology is almost here…

Wearables Could Also Be Used in Clinical Trials

A group of scientists think that wearable technology could be used in the future in clinical trials to help track patient data.

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and activity trackers collect a large amount of data each day, and much of it can be useful to scientists testing a new treatment. Wearables could make it less expensive to track the results of a study, and at the same time give scientists a more complete picture of how the treatment works.


We hope this article has given you some ideas on how to get the most out of your sleep and helped you learn a little bit about how important oxygen is to your overall health. While the Garmin measures your sleep well, only a doctor can diagnose sleep disorders, and it’s important to not rely on Garmin’s data as a substitute for medical advice.

If you have questions about the Garmin Vivosmart 4, give us a call! We’d be happy to help! You can reach us at: 1-800-356-5221. Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter! It’s the best way to get the latest on our biggest sales and deals, as well as stay informed about the latest in sleep health!

  • David Repasky

    David Repasky has been using CPAP treatment since 2017 and has first-hand experience with what it's like to live with Sleep Apnea. He brings the patient's perspective to the CPAP.com blog and has received formal training in CPAP machines, masks, and equipment.

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6 Responses

      1. Good morning,
        My VIVOSMART 4 tracks my sleep only for a short time (a few hours) per night. How can that be corrected to “from bed time to wake up time”?
        Thank you for your reply

  1. I have always worn Fitbit to track steps and sleeping and was very happy with the product; except they would last a few months and break! I researched the Garmin and purchased the Vivosmart4 about 3 weeks ago. It does not track my sleeping time accurately at all, leaving me to wonder how accurate the rest of the data is. I use a Resmed bipap machine and the time of use is drastically different than the Garmin. For example, I sleep 7-8 hours total, going to bed around 9 and getting up about 7 am. I frequently wake up at night, go to the bathroom and will read a bit until I’m sleepy. Invariably, the Garmin will randomly start my sleep anywhere from 3-4 am, often it will start my sleep eventually, go to sleep and the, again randomly, stop tracking in the middle of the night. I am totally fed up. The company only replies to any kind of contact with the message “we regret to answer individual inquiries “. What! I cannot even get anyone to talk to so that I can return this useless product!

  2. Vivoactive 4. This is my first experience with a fitness tracking watch.

    I have found the sleep monitoring to be really good albeit not perfect. It has accurately detected when I fall asleep and wake up and has detected my middle of the night water or bathroom breaks.

    Because it detects heart rate, respiration rate, movement, and oxygen levels – I think it makes a good guess on the light, rem, and deep sleep stages. The REM cycles it logs seem logical too.

    I question those that complain about the accuracy of it’s sleep stages. I think you would need to be connected to an EEG to get the clinical grade analysis some people expect. Maybe other devices are better, but I don’t have anything to compare, but so far I think it is pretty good to help you get an idea of what is going on.

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