The Forerunner 955 is here, but Garmin is sleeping on something important
Naps can be a valuable tool for trail runners and other athletes, but no far no Garmin watches can track them
The long-awaited Garmin Forerunner 955 and 255 have now launched, but there's one feature that they're both lacking. So far, none of Garmin's best GPS watches can track naps, and there's no sign of that changing in the near future.
Some of the company's earlier devices allowed you to enable sleep tracking manually to log a nap, but this feature seems to have been deprecated. Now, although your wearable might detect when you settle down for a siesta, it's not capable of storing and analyzing both short snoozes and your regular nightly rest.
In fact, take a nap too close to bedtime and you watch may record the entire period as 'sleep' – from the beginning of your nap to waking up the next morning - with a chunk of wakefulness in the middle.
This is a little surprising considering how many professional athletes use naps as part of their training. Eliud Kipchoge (opens in new tab) swears by eight hours' sleep at night supplemented by a two-hour nap, Mo Farah (opens in new tab) works an extra doze into his morning routine, and Meb Keflezighi (opens in new tab) made napping as much a part of his post-run recovery as stretching and icing.
Many ultra runners also use short power naps (less than half an hour) to keep their internal batteries topped up during long events. These are usually at aid stations, but sometimes runners will actually lie down and take a break on the side of the road (opens in new tab).
Napping isn't for everyone, though. A 2018 study published in the European Journal of Sport Science (opens in new tab) found that although not everyone benefitted from a daytime nap, it did improve the endurance of athletes who tended to sleep for less than seven hours at night. In 2021, another study in the same journal found that athletes found it easier to fall asleep than non-athletes, even if they didn't feel more tired, which may be a response to taking naps as part of their regular routine.
On your marks, get set, doze
Garmin's watches aren't the only ones that can't track naps (Coros devices don't either), but those from Amazfit, including the newly released Amazfit T-Rex 2, will record short snatches of sleep and factor them into your rest and recovery metrics.
Provided your nap lasts at least 10 minutes, your Amazfit device will log it and give you feedback. If the nap was relatively short and not too late in the day, you'll be congratulated for giving yourself a boost. If you ignored your alarm and fell into a deep sleep, or napped too close to bedtime, you'll be warned that you might be sabotaging your nightly rest.
That said, if Garmin does update its sleep algorithms to take account of naps, you're unlikely to need a new watch to benefit. The company has solid track record of supporting its devices with firmware upgrades long after their release, so if nap tracking eventually comes to the Venu, Fenix, and Forerunner ranges, you hopefully won't need to upgrade your device to benefit.
We're looking forward to seeing what new tools the Forerunner 955 brings to our wrists, but we suspect nap-tracking will have to wait a little longer.
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).