Is it Safe to Sleep With an Apple Watch On? (7 Safety Tips)


This article has been written, researched, and medically reviewed by Stephanie Abi Zeid (Embryologist, Andrologist, B.S, MSc) for factual accuracy.

If you’re thinking about using your Apple Watch to track your sleep, then you might be wondering if it’s safe to sleep with your Apple Watch on or not.

It is relatively safe to sleep with an Apple Watch on in the short term because the Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) levels emitted by the device are very low and the radiation is non-ionizing – wear an EMF Harmonizer Watchband if you are worried about EMF radiation.

The rest of this article gives you 7 tips to help you sleep safely in your Apple Watch, and also includes a short section that explains how to set up your Apple Watch to track your sleep.

Related: the 9 hidden risks of sleeping in AirPods.

7 Ways to Sleep Safely With an Apple Watch On

The Apple Watch is a wearable smartwatch that uses Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular signals to communicate with your paired iPhone and notify you of things that you care about the most.

Sleeping in your Apple Watch should pose minimal health risks.

Wear your Apple Watch for a few consecutive nights to track and compare the amount of sleep you are getting every night so that you can create a bedtime routine and reach your sleep goals and then go back to not wearing the watch for maximum health benefits.

Here are 7 actionable tips to help you sleep safely in your Apple Watch tonight:

1: Consider Using an EMF Blocking Watch Strap

Wearing your Apple Watch to bed should pose few risks in terms of Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) exposure because the levels are so low and the radiation is non-ionizing – therefore it is highly unlikely that an Apple Watch will cause cancer.

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But if you’re worried about radiation exposure, then you should invest in an EMF Harmonizer Apple Watchband that will block you from the radiation.

Apple Watches emit a form of radiation referred to as Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF), which is similar to cell phone radiation.

Numerous studies have shown that the closer you are to the radiation, the more of it you will absorb, which might cause detrimental effects to your health in the long run [1].

Cancer may be one symptom of very high EMF exposure.

Other symptoms may include sleep disturbances and insomnia.

Although the amount of radiation emitted by smartwatches may be lower in comparison to other devices, these watches are pressed directly into your skin for several hours a day – which may increase the risks slightly (but still not to major levels).

If this concerns you, put your watch on airplane mode whenever you aren’t expecting anything important – this will give your body a break – or remove your watch periodically to allow your skin to breathe.

You can also invest in an Apple Watch radiation blocker – an anti-radiation accessory – which protects your skin against harmful EMF radiation.

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2: Wear a Comfortable Watch Strap

It is essential to wear a comfortable watch band around your wrist when you plan to sleep with your Apple Watch on so that the watch doesn’t become uncomfortable and cause you to wake up.

When you first buy your Apple Watch, it will have a strap included that will likely be suitable for most sleepers.

But you can use a different strap that you can purchase separately for a more custom feel if required.

More specifically, some people may experience skin allergies to certain materials.

Therefore, make sure you select flexible, breathable, and hard-wearing watch bands that are made from materials like rubber or nylon [2].

Rubber material is comfortable for sleeping, as it fits securely and easily expands with the movement of your wrist.

Rubber is also waterproof, extremely hard-wearing, and doesn’t absorb sweat.

Nylon material is also comfortable to sleep with as part of your watch strap because it generates a soft, smooth feel against your skin, and has larger loops for cushioning and breathability – so you won’t wake up with skin irritation.

Avoid wearing silicone or metal straps since they can cause discomfort and irritation.

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3: Wear the Watch Snugly But Not Too Tight

As well as notifying you on calls, messages, emails, and social media notifications, an Apple Watch is also designed to track your fitness, sleep, and health metrics.

However, if the band loosens during sleep, the sensors will stop working properly and will become more prone to errors – this can lead to false alerts.

Therefore, make sure to use a watch strap with firm fasteners that fit snugly against your wrist if you want to sleep with an Apple Watch on.

If you have skin sensitivities, remove your Apple Watch periodically to allow your skin to breathe, and keep the band clean and dry to minimize the risks of skin irritation and allergies.

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4: Sleep On Your Back

It is recommended that you sleep on your back whilst wearing a watch because your wrists are mostly free to move.

When you sleep on your side or on your stomach, you might use your arms to support your weight. 

As a result, your watch may press into your wrist – causing pain and soreness that might wake you up.

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5: Design Your Homescreen For Sleep

The Apple Watch provides up to 10 watch faces to choose from for your watch home screen.

If you don’t want your watch to disrupt your sleep, choose the “Modular face”, which allows you to only display what you want rather than having a display packed with too much unnecessary information overnight [3].

Before going to bed, configure the modular face with just the time and the alarm if needed.

Because you definitely don’t want your watch to light up brightly whilst you’re sleeping.

Therefore, select the darkest shade of font color to minimize your exposure to blue light, which is known to suppress the body’s release of melatonin – the hormone that encourages sleep.

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6: Enable Theatre Mode

When you look at a bright display at night, this has the potential to reduce melatonin production (the hormone required to make you feel sleepy).

Therefore, before you go to sleep, turn on Theatre Mode – it’s designed to prevent the screen from activating when you move your wrist.

To turn on Theatre mode on your Apple Watch, swipe upwards on your screen and then tap on the ‘comedy and tragedy’ mask icon.

This mode will turn off the screen – and it won’t reactivate unless you engage with the screen or press one of the buttons.

This means that as you move around at night, your watch will remain dark and won’t wake you up due to bright lights being emitted.

Even if you have the always-on display enabled on your Apple Watch, you can easily disable the ‘raise to wake’ feature so that your watch screen remains off throughout the night.

This feature also means that you will use less battery overnight.

To activate the screen, you need to tap the screen or press on the Digital Crown.

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7: Turn On Do Not Disturb Mode

As you are getting ready for bed, enable the Do Not Disturb mode to silence all notifications to help you sleep more soundly.

This feature ensures that all phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media alerts stay on your phone and don’t ping your wrist.

However, you can still control who can reach you unconditionally.

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How to Track Sleep With an Apple Watch

Using your Apple Watch to track your sleep can help to ensure that you are getting enough sleep and potentially make you aware of irregularities.

To track sleep with the Apple Watch you should set up the Sleep app, add a sleep schedule, use Sleep mode, and view your sleep history.

More details on how to do this below:

1: Set Up the Sleep App

First, make sure that your Apple Watch is at least 65 percent charged before your scheduled bedtime.

Your watch will remind you to charge it if the battery is below 30 percent.

Wear your Apple Watch to bed with the right fit – not too tight, not too loose – to keep you comfortable and allow the sensors to properly function throughout the night.

Next, open the built-in Sleep app – which has the ability to detect when you are sleeping and for how long based on micromovements that signal respiration during sleep – and then follow the prompts.

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2: Add a Sleep Schedule

Click on the full schedule to configure and create a sleep routine for every day of the week.

This feature allows you to set your bedtime, select what time you’d like to wake up, and how long you actually want to sleep.

It also allows you to set alarms if you want your Apple Watch to wake you up in the morning by delivering light vibrations or soft sounds.

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3: Use Sleep Mode

Once you’ve set a sleep schedule, your Apple Watch will go into sleep mode.

Sleep mode automatically turns off the screen display, activates “Do Not Disturb”, and disables raise to wake – all of which reduce distractions before your scheduled bedtime and helps you have a good night’s sleep.

However, you can still view the date and time and your scheduled alarms on your Apple Watch during sleep mode.

You can also turn Sleep Mode on and off manually at any time.

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4: View Your Sleep History

The alarm will wake you up at your chosen wake-up time by emitting a chosen sound and by tapping on your wrist.

However, if your watch is in silent mode, it will wake you up with taps, but no audible sound.

The Sleep Mode will then turn off and you will be able to check on how well you’ve slept throughout the night.

To view your sleep history, open the Sleep app and scroll down to take a more detailed look at how long you slept, along with times when you may have woken up.

After you’ve tracked your sleep for several consecutive nights, you will be able to compare your patterns of sleep for about 14 days.

It is worth noting that the Apple Watch only focuses on the time you go to bed and on the amount of time you sleep to help you reach your sleep goal.

According to Kevin Lynch – the vice president of technology at Apple – looking at too much information about your various sleep stages can be unnecessary, overwhelming, and can actually cause more anxiety in terms of going to sleep [4].

Therefore, Apple only focuses on the time you go to bed and on the amount of time you sleep in order to help you stick to a good bedtime routine and hence reach your sleep goal.

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Conclusion: Wearing an Apple Watch to Bed is Quite Safe

Wearing an Apple Watch whilst you sleep is quite safe – the EMF levels are so low that they are unlikely to cause cancer.

The only real precautions that should be taken are to ensure that the watch strap is comfortable and that the watch is set so that it won’t disrupt your sleep.

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Sources and References

[1] Vest. “What You Don’t Know About Wearable Tech Radiation Exposure.” Vesttech, 2018,  Accessed 22 March 2021.

[2] Marshall, Carrie. “Best Apple Watch bands 2021: our pick of the great Apple wearable straps.” Techradar, 2021,  Accessed 22 March 2021.

[3] Faulkner, Cameron. “Best Apple Watch faces: how to style your smartwatch home screen.” Techradar, 2018, Accessed 22 March 2021.

[4] Stein, Scott. “How the Apple Watch tracks sleep — and why.” cnet, 2020,  Accessed 22 March 2021.

Image Attribution and Licencing

Main image: ‘Close Up of Man With Smart Watch Sleeping in Bed’ by Syda Productions – used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement.