Only for users with an Apple Watch Series 3 or later with WatchOS 8 running (so you must have iOS 15 on your iPhone to get WatchOS 8 on your Apple Watch)
Respiration rate will only be measured if you activate the Apple Watch 'sleep mode' when you go to bed. We describe this more below in the Setting Up section
Respiration rate is the number of breaths you take each minute while sleeping. We use an abbreviation named BrPM, which stands for Breaths Per Minute
The white gauge needle shows your average from all the measurements of Respiration during sleep. The blue range behind the gauge needle indicates the minimum and maximum measurements captured during the sleep session. The outer inlay represents your 7 day averages, with a black mark showing the 7 day average, and the range showing the 7 day minimum and maximum averages.
Studies have shown that in healthy individuals the respiration range is from 12 to 20 BrPM. The colour parts of the outer gauge in orange and red represent when you are out of this range, green is within the range.
A Respiration Rate Report can also be viewed in the Clock tab under the Wellness section.
Note: unless you have sleep mode enabled, your respiration rate will not be captured. Refer to Turning on Sleep Mode below.
Setting Up Respiration Rate
The requirements for respiration rate are an Apple Watch Series 3 or above and to be on iOS 15 or higher and WatchOS 8 or above. If you have this, there are 3 steps to follow to ensure you can capture your respiration rate: (1) Health Permission (2) Watch Permission (3) Sleep Mode. See below for the details.
(1) Health Permission
AutoSleep needs to have access to the data to present the information. To check:
Go into iPhone Settings, then Privacy, then into Health
Find AutoSleep in the list and make sure that Respiratory Rate is turned on (see image below)
Note: Apple restricts measuring respiration rate if the age in Health is under 18 years. This can sometimes catch out users who may have swapped iPhones with their children and have not updated their date of birth.
(2) Turn On Track Sleep & Respiratory Rate in Watch app
This needs to be enabled for the Apple Watch that you sleep with. Open your Watch app on your iPhone, its a side view Watch icon that looks like this:
Next, while still in the Watch app on your iPhone, scroll down and open Privacy. Ensure that Respiratory Rate is enabled:
(3) Turning On Sleep Focus Mode
The most important point here and one that users easily miss is that respiration will only measure if you enable Sleep Focus mode on your Apple Watch when you go to bed. Apple have designed it this way. You do not need to be using the Apple Sleep app or using the Apple sleep schedules, you just need to enable Sleep Mode at bedtime to allow the Watch to send your respiration rate data to Health on your iPhone.
With WatchOS 8 and above Apple have updated the Sleep Focus mode which is much easier than the previous 'do not disturb' options. It is a now a very simple process to put your Watch into Sleep Focus mode. Here are the steps to enable:
Swipe up on your Apple Watch to open the Control Centre
Tap the crescent moon icon (a bit like a half moon icon).
You will see an option called "Sleep" with a bed icon next to it. Tap this to activate Sleep Focus mode and your sleeping respiration rate will be captured automatically (see below image).
To confirm you are in Sleep Mode, you will notice the Control Centre Focus icon changes to a bed icon, you will also see the same bed icon at the top your screen when you go back to your Watch complication screen. This will stop your Watch annoying you during the night. See below for more information managing the Focus sleep settings in your iPhone.
Focus Sleep Settings
With WatchOS 8 Apple introduced Focus which lets you customise different 'do not disturb' activities like working or sleeping. The Sleep Mode in Focus is worth exploring to see the different customisations available. To open Focus:
Go into Settings on your iPhone
Tap into Focus
Tap into Sleep
You then have different options such as starting sleep mode from your iPhone and allowing notifications for specific apps during sleep mode.
Not Seeing Sleep Mode Icon?
Provided you have iOS 15 and WatchOS 8 installed, you may need to go and setup the Sleep Mode in the new Focus app. This is found by going into your iPhone Settings, then into Focus. If you cannot see a Sleep option you have to select the + (add) icon and add in the default sleep mode. Here is the official Apple link for more details, as this is all controlled by the Focus app:
Respiration Rate Details
On the Today view, tap on the Respiration Rate tile to view more details and trends.
Tap on the Average or Range links to open your trends over a period of time, including maximums, minimums and rolling averages. A Respiratory Report will display showing your current average along with a 7 day and 28 day average so you can accurately track your measurements. You can tap any part of the graph to display a pop-up box with additional information.
Note the yellow bars let you easily compare the current day to previous weeks. For example, if today was Tuesday the yellow bars will highlight Tuesday today, the Tuesday 7 days ago, the Tuesday 14 days ago and the Tuesday 21 days ago. See below:
Respiration Measurements on the Sleep Graph
We have found that the Apple Watch will collect a breathes per minute measurement between 5 and 20 minutes night, depending on your activity and Watch positioning. Respiration rate measurements during the sleep session can be seen in the below image as the green line. You can find the sleep graph by clicking on the top graph in the Today tab. Refer to the Sleep Graph section on the Sleep page to see all your BrPM recordings during the night, along with comparing to other key sleep metrics.