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How does the Samsung Galaxy Watch measure stress?

Monitor and keep your stress levels in check with the Galaxy Watch line.

Published onMarch 13, 2024

samsung galaxy watch 4 stress
Andy Walker / Android Authority

Controlling stress levels is important to well-being alongside physical activity and a healthy diet. Prolonged, heightened periods of stress can hurt health and can cause behavioral changes, aches and pains, headaches, and insomnia, among other issues. More smartwatch and fitness tracker makers, like Samsung, recognize this link and bake stress monitoring features into their devices. But how do you use the Samsung Galaxy Watch to measure stress? Find out below.


The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, 5, and 4 use a combination of heart rate and heart rate variability data to estimate a user's physiological stress levels. You can initiate a manual reading by opening Samsung Health, tapping Stress, and selecting Measure.


How does the Samsung Galaxy Watch measure stress?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro D Buckle
Kaitlyn Cimino / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6, 5, and 4 use a combination of heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) data to determine stress levels. HRV measures the interval between heartbeats and is just as important as estimating physiological stress as the number of beats your heart completes per minute.

But why use HRV to measure stress? According to Harvard, HRV is controlled by our autonomic nervous system (ANS). It’s a part of our nervous system that automatically adjusts our heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate in response to environmental stressors. This part of the nervous system is balanced by two parts that control our high stress flight/fight response and relaxed states. If your HRV is low — if there exists a slight variation between heartbeats — it’s a possible indicator that your ANS could be in a higher stress mode. If your HRV is high and the intervals between heartbeats are more varied, you’re likely in a more relaxed state.

Although it’s among the more common methods, not all smartwatches use HRV to measure stress. The Fitbit Sense series and the Pixel Watch 2 use EDA, or electrodermal activity sensors, to gauge the body’s physical response to ANS changes. These sensors sample the skin’s electrical conductivity variation caused by sweat.

How to take a stress reading on the Galaxy Watch

You can initiate manual stress readings on the Galaxy Watch 6, 5, and 4 by following the steps below.

  1. Open Samsung Health on your watch.
  2. Scroll down to the Stress section and tap on it.
  3. Tap Measure to initiate a reading.

The watch must remain snug on your wrist while it takes the reading. You’ll see what appears to be a graph measuring your heart’s rhythm on the screen. Once the reading is complete, the watch will show you how stressed you are on a line graph. Green indicates low stress, while red indicates high stress. The Galaxy Watch will display your average with a dotted line on the graph.

How to activate automatic stress monitoring on the Galaxy Watch

You can also activate automatic stress readings on the Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Watch 4. If you’re particularly worried about your stress levels or find the manual measurements too cumbersome, we recommend switching this feature on.

  1. Open Samsung Health on your watch.
  2. Scroll down to Settings and tap on it.
  3. Under the Measurement section, tap Stress.
  4. Toggle on Measure continuously.


Based on our own experiences, the Galaxy Watch series’ stress measurements aren’t completely accurate. Still, it’s important to note that smartwatches are not medical devices. What is useful is when your smartwatch can monitor stress trends over time, bring potential issues and triggers to attention, and encourage behaviors that quell stress. The Galaxy Watch line helps you do all of these.

Prolonged high stress can be destructive and harmful to the body. According to the American Psychological Association, it can affect almost all facets of the body, from the muscles and our skeletons to our respiratory, nervous, and reproductive systems.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch trio have a nifty breathing exercise feature that encourages you to take a few deep breaths after recording a stress measurement.