I recently listened to the audio version of ‘Why We Sleep‘ by Matthew Walker and started to look for ways to optimize my sleep. Take iOS sleep settings, for example. There are a number of settings Apple has deployed over the years that help users sleep soundly and peacefully. But before we understand these settings and how to use or set it, let’s understand the benefits and side effects of sleep or lack thereof:
Disadvantages of Lack of Sleep
- One of the main causes of accidents of various kinds
- You are less sharper
- Leading cause of health problems like diabetes, heart diseases
- Lack of sex drive
- Leads to depression
- Accelerates the aging process
- Leads to less activity and obesity
That’s a rather long list. Let’s see how iOS sleep settings can help reduce smartphone addiction and improve the quantity and quality of sleep.
iOS Sleep Settings
1. Downtime and Screen Time
Screen Time will collect data and analyze the time that you are spending on various apps. A good indicator of how many hours you have wasted on Facebook or Instagram. You know you are guilty of that. You can then use these data points to curb your usage. Some users also use smartphone before sleeping, in the bed. That’s where Downtime comes in. A cool feature that is part of Apple’s new health initiative.
When you have identified the apps that are eating into your sleep, you can set limits to curb usage. Open Settings and tap on Screen Time > Downtime and enable it. You can now set times for when you can use particular or all apps on your iPhone or iPad.
You cannot set dowtime limits for individual apps but rather, Apple has smartly grouped similar apps together. There are categories like Games, Entertainment, Social Networking and so on. To limit app usage on different categories rather than rendering the whole iPhone inaccessible, visit Settings > Screen Time > App Limits > Add Limit.
You can whitelist certain apps that are absolutely necessary like phone or messages. If screen time is over and you need to use a certain app in emergency, you can borrow more time and use it temporarily. The idea is to cultivate good habits and exercise control using these cues.
2. DND (Do Not Disturb)
A very handy feature that you can quickly enable from the Control Center itself. When you enable DND, all incoming calls, messages, and notifications will be silenced. I say, good riddance.
No notifications means no disturbance which further means that you can do what you are supposed to do when you are in the bed; sleep. You can also schedule DND to activate automatically depending on when you sleep. It is important to have asleep schedule and follow it.
You can add important numbers to Favorites which will not be silenced in the DND mode. You don’t want to miss emergencies, do you?
3. Dark and Night Mode
The blue light your phone’s screen emits can be harmful in a number of ways. Not only can it result in weak eyesight in the long run, but it also leads to sleep deprivation. The blue light makes it harder for you to fall asleep. That’s why most smartphones now come with a Night Mode, including the iPhone.
Open Settings > Display & Brightness and you can set Night Shift there. Play around with the screen warmness to find a point that’s easy on your eyes and schedule it. You can either set a start and stop time or let your iPhone decide when you enable the Night Mode based on sunset and sunrise. The later option involves giving location permission and enabling GPS.
This is one of my favorite iOS sleep settings. Open Clock from the Control Center and you will see Bedtime tab. What’s that? Bedtime will wake you up gently using soothing and ambient sounds. Well, that won’t help me sleep in the first place, you say. I know but Bedtime will also track your sleeping patterns and the number of hours to spend in the bed. These data points will help you understand how well you slept, are you getting enough sleep (8 hours is considered a healthy mark), and how you can improve it.
The data is then stored in the Apple Health app. If you are actively using that app, which you should, you can learn a lot about your body. Bedtime will ask how many hours you want to sleep, remind you when its time, dim the light on your phone’s screen to give visual cues, and choose alarm sounds like bird’s songs among others. These sounds are much better than waking up to harsh sounds that most alarm clocks come with. Imagine waking up to people shouting down on you, and then imagine waking up to someone singing for you.
Don’t forget set Bedtime on autopilot by scheduling the days and hours of the week it will run.
iOS Sleep Settings
Apple has done a commendable job by offering a number of settings aimed to improve sleep quality. Quality of sleep is on the decline and smartphone are a primary reason behind it. However, this is something that’s in our control and if we are diligent, we can control it reduce sleep deprivation related problems.