How to Use Your iPhone to Get Better Sleep

By Matilda Davies

You can use your iPhone to help you get better sleep, but the first thing you need to do is stop using your phone before bed. A study from the Lighting Research Center at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed that the blue and white light emitted by our phones, tablets, and laptops prevent our brains from releasing melatonin, the hormone that tells your body that it’s time to sleep. Similarly, a poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation revealed that the use of interactive tech devices, like phones and tablets, in the hour before bed is most strongly associated with sleep complaints.

This is probably not news to anyone. Even if you’ve never come across one of these studies or polls, you’ve likely felt the effects yourself. But the thing is, Americans aren’t changing their nighttime phone habits. A 2017 survey by Mattress Advisor showed that more than 71% of respondents report checking their phones right before bed, and almost 50% of Millennials surveyed admitted to having fallen asleep with their phone in hand, followed by Gen X at 39.1% and Boomers at 21%.

So if we’re not willing to give up device use before we turn in for the night, we might as well use them to get the very best sleep we can.

Night Shift

iOs 9.3 and beyond feature Night Shift. Night Shift uses your clock and location to shift screen colors from cool to warm (minimizing those energizing blues and whites) at sunset. In the morning, your screen will return to its normal light. To turn it on, simply swipe up to access your command center and press the light icon.


The Bedtime feature within the Clock app tracks your sleep and helps you make sure you’re getting enough.

When you set up the app for the first time, it’s going to ask you what time you want to get up. It will also ask you what days of the week you want your alarm to go off. Keep in mind, Bedtime will want you to wake up the same time every day (even weekends, but let’s be honest, most of us aren’t going to want to do this.)

Bedtime with then ask how much sleep you want to get. Before you answer, let’s look at how much sleep you should be getting (per the National Sleep Foundation).

Age Sleep Needed
14–17 8–10 hours
18–25 7–9 hours
26–64 7–9 hours
65+ 7–8 hours

Put in at least as much as is recommended for your age group, even if you don’t think you’ll always be able to get that much. Based on your entries, the app will recommend a bedtime for you. You can even set a pleasant little alarm tune (different than the standard iPhone alarm sounds) and alarm volume. Make sure to save your settings.

The app will notify you when it’s almost bedtime (you can set how far in advance this happens).

Bedtime will then track your sleeping hours. You won’t ever have to tell it when you’re going to bed or when you wake up—all of that will be deduced for you.

Perhaps the best part of Bedtime is that it integrates with your iPhone’s Health app. Your Health app will track the average amount of sleep you’re getting overall and allows you to see exactly how much you’re getting on a nightly basis. Note trends over time and even consider keeping a journal of caffeine intake, exercise habits, and evening routine to match behavior to bedtime.


If you want to take a super close look at your sleep quality—when you truly fall asleep and wake up, how much you toss and turn, your temperature, heart rate, and snoring, even the room temperature and humidity levels—check out the Apple Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor.

Lay the Beddit sensor under your fitted sheet and sync it with your Health app. It can sync with your Apple Watch if that’s your thing, but there’s no wearable necessary to use Beddit. This device will give you some seriously detailed data on your sleep and will even provide a SleepScore that aggregates a variety of factors that influence the quality of sleep and spits out a single number to let you know how you’re doing.

Let's Get You Some Better Rest


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