Samsung has put a lot of emphasis on improved sleep tracking with its new Galaxy Watch 5. There’s even a new infrared temperature sensor on the phone that reads your skin temperature and can give you useful data to create a better sleep tracking model. That is, it may be when we can finally use the sensor.
Unfortunately, the implementation of the new sensor has been delayed in the US and is currently not active on new devices. This is occasionally what happens with new health-based features and the promises those features make.
Samsung didn’t offer any explanation as to why the feature was included in the new device and mentioned at launch, but it’s not live for buyers right now. The company only said that the feature would be available “in the near future” and went on to explain to our Tom’s Guide friends how the sensor will help with sleep monitoring.
Why temperature to sleep?
Traditionally, wearables employ a variety of sensors to track your sleep, summing the data at the end and using some smart analytics to determine when you’re sleeping. Smartwatches use motion sensors, heart rate monitors and even microphones to listen to sleep patterns.
On its own, none of this is perfect, but as sensors improve and manufacturers add new sensors for more data points, watches and wearables get better at determining when we’re asleep. Still, only one complete polysomnography exam – one that measures brain, circulatory and lung functions – can actually tell us how we are sleeping.
The Galaxy Watch 5’s temperature sensor will help the watch give you advice on how to sleep better. Our bodies naturally cool down at night, so a temperature sensor will be able to tell if the environment is cold or warm enough to affect your sleep.
Fitbit uses detailed temperature tracking on devices like the Fitbit Versa, and even its simplest devices give you a snapshot of your average temperature after you sleep. On its website, Fitbit explains the temperature sensor (opens in new tab)and Lindsey Sunden, Director of Physiological Sensing at Fitbit, says, “If you see spikes in your skin temperature overnight, it could be a sign that overheating is disrupting your sleep.”
Samsung says users need to wear the watch to sleep for seven days and then fill out a survey about their sleep habits. By tracking your skin temperature during that week, Samsung Health creates a profile of your starting temperature while you sleep. So Samsung can make suggestions to improve your sleep.
Who else is taking your temperature?
There are other useful apps for a skin temperature sensor on a wearable, and Samsung says it will be open to third-party developers. Temperature monitoring can help with recovery after exercise or even detect the onset of illness. The last resort, of course, can be a point of contention with government health regulators.
Litter not yet included temperature sensor on an Apple Watch. We’ve seen temperature sensors in several wearables on the market, mostly from fitbit and Huawei. O Oura’s Ring also tracks temperature with other sleep data.
We are working with the new Samsung watches for our official reviewbut you can take a look at our explainer page for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to see what makes these new smartwatches work.
If you want to keep up with everything Samsung has revealed in Unpacked, check out our comprehensive coverage.