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Full-blown sleep tracking with new Polar devices.

Sleep as Android now fully integrates with the new fitness-tracking devices from Polar – H10, OH1 and Sense. In addition to heart rate measurement, the app uses the integrated accelerometer to monitor sleep phases and trigger smart alarms. The Polar devices present an affordable, comfortable, and easy-to-use alternative to sleep-tracking with a traditional smartwatch. Read on to see how it works.

Polar has a long tradition in manufacturing wearable devices for fitness tracking and heart rate monitoring. They are marketed mainly as an aid for sports enthusiasts. However, with Sleep as Android, they can be easily turned into powerful sleep-tracking tools.

Sleep as Android integrated heartrate inputs from Polar devices a long time ago. However, their recent models (the chest belt H10, and the armbands OH1(+) or Verity Sense) have also an accelerometer (a motion sensor) included in them. We can read the information about the sleeper’s movement throughout the night and use it for evaluation of sleep phases, triggering smart alarms, and all the other cool stuff that Sleep as Android does.

These devices are relatively light and comfortable to wear, inexpensive, and easy-to-use. We believe that many users will find them more convenient than heavy-weight smartwatch. Furthermore, they provide detailed measurements directly via a well-documented Bluetooth interface. There is no need for a third-party bridge app. And they produce very detailed measurement data, which allows us to supply much more useful insights to the user, compared to most devices from other vendors on the market.

How to make it work

  1. Get your H10/OH1/Sense device, attach it to your body and turn it on, according to the user manual.
  2. Install Polar Beat, a standard app for controlling the devices.
  3. In the Beat app, go to Setting, click on “HR sensor”, and pair the app with your device. Then turn the “Visibility” switch on, so that other apps can communicate with the device. Now you can leave the Beat app, you will not need it anymore for sleep tracking.
  4. Start Sleep as Android and go to Settings/Wearables/Use Wearables. Tap on the “Polar (H10, OH1, Sense)” entry. It will pop-up a list of available Bluetooth devices, so select your Polar device from the list.
  5. Next time you start sleep tracking, the app will attempt to connect to the selected Polar device. If it is available, its activity and heartrate sensors will be used for sleep tracking.

Troubleshooting

  • Only one app at a time can connect to Polar OH1 and two apps to Polar H10 or Sense. If other apps (such as your fitness tracker) are actively using the same device, Sleep As Android may be unable to connect. You may need to terminate these apps before you start sleep tracking.
  • Bluetooth tends to be generally unstable and buggy on some Android phones, especially the older ones. In case of connectivity problems, it often helps to turn off and on Bluetooth in the Android setting, turn off and on the device, or restart your phone, as a last-resort step.
  • It is a new experimental feature, please let us know in case of any troubles with it.

Available features

Detailed measurements provided by the new Polar devices allowed us to implement some more fancy features. They are available in the latest release from January (version 20210118).

Breath monitoring

As the H10 model is attached to one’s chest, the accelerometer is able to capture even the tiny movements related to breathing. Our preliminary experiments show that it is possible to measure breath frequency and detect respiratory disturbances from it, at least during the parts of the night when the sleeper lies relatively still.

HRV analysis

Time intervals between individual heartbeats tend to fluctuate naturally on a short time scale. This phenomenon is called heart rate variability (HRV). Analysis of an individual’s heart rate variability characteristics may reveal useful information about his health, stress level, or the quality of his rest. As the Polar devices supply detailed beat-to-beat time measurements, our app is be able to compute HRV and offer such insights.

 

15 thoughts on “Full-blown sleep tracking with new Polar devices.

  1. Nothing I tried worked. I am unable to discover the h10 device. Tried killing the polar beat and flow apps and tried to restart bluetooth but it did not help

  2. Hello Tom,

    I am sorry for your trouble, please send us a bug report and we may be able to diagnose what is going wrong.
    Here is what to do:
    – Start the discovery process, wait a couple of minutes.
    – Then go to the main screen, the main menu (top-left corner), Report a bug
    It will send us detailed diagnostic information.

    Thank you

    Jan

  3. was about to send the bug report but as it happens with some bugs suddenly everything worked and the app discovered the device. When I was trying I was not able to see any bluetooth devices but this time I found many including the H10.

    I will let you know if that will happen again

  4. The smartwatch and wearables section in sleep as android documentation still says SaA only uses the polar H10 and OH1 for HR measurement and not accelerometer tracking. does this mean I have to use another wearable with accelerometer support to track my movements?

  5. Hello Leo, thank you for pointing this out. The documentation is apparently obsolete and needs to be updated. This post blog is correct. We do use accelerometer in Polar devices.

  6. Hello Kamen, according to the Polar API pages (https://github.com/polarofficial/polar-ble-sdk), Verity Sense should communicate on the same protocol as OH1. So, hopefully, it should work out of the box. However, we have not tested it yet, so we can not guarantee it. If you happen to own this device already, it would be very helpful if you try to connect it with SaA and let us know how it works – preferably send us a crash report, so that we can examine technical details. Otherwise, we will get the device sooner or later and test it on our own, and make it work if it does not already.

  7. Thanks for the speedy reply, Jan! I have an H10 and was looking into something optical for comfort sake – I might actually get Verity Sense instead of OH1+ in the coming days and could send you my observations.

  8. Tried to setup and make use of the accelerometer in the Verity Sense, unfortunately without luck.
    Device is recognized in Settings/Wearables/Use Wearables, but sensor testing is failing: after “waiting for connection” timeouts, graph is based on the phone accelerometer.
    I sent you the crash report yesterday.

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