Everything you need to know about the iPhone’s Bedtime mode


Image: Midnight Oil Enterprises/YouTube

The iPhone’s new “Bedtime” functionality within the alarm clock app is an innovative and interesting introduction.

Working on the basis that being consistent with the amount of sleep you get (i.e., going to bed and waking up at the same time every day) is better for your health, this useful tool makes it easier to achieve this goal.

But how do you get the most out of the new feature? Here’s everything you need to know about the iPhone’s Bedtime mode, from getting started to analyzing your results.

So, how much sleep do you need?

If you’ve never really thought about it before, it can be hard to guesstimate exactly how much sleep your body needs.

While everyone is different, there are some general guidelines, based on age, to help you come up with a figure. The guidelines, published in “Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation,” were penned by a panel of experts that looked at 320 studies on the matter.

  • Teenagers (ages 14-17): 8-10 hours

  • Young adults (ages 18-25): 7-9 hours

  • Adults (ages 26-64): 7-9 hours

  • Older adults (ages 65-plus): 7-8 hours

It’s worth taking these guidelines seriously. Getting yourself into long-term “sleep debt” has been linked to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Getting started with Bedtime

The setup process the first time you use Bedtime is pretty simple. Your iPhone will guide you through as soon as you hit the “Get Started” button.

First, you set the time you’d like to wake in the morning, then hit Next.

Then tell your iPhone which days of the week you’d like to be woken at that time. For the sake of consistency, it recommends you wake at the same time every day, even on days off.

Next is the setting to say how many hours sleep a night you need.

In the next screen you get to set up a “bedtime reminder,” an alarm that goes off right when you should be heading to bed, or with a few minutes’ notice.

You can now select the sound your phone will play to wake you. A far cry from alarm clocks of yore, the options are really quite pleasant, from birdsong to gentle piano, all of which gradually build in volume for a more civilised wake-up experience.

Once, you’ve gone through the process, click Save at the top right of your screen to complete the setup.

When you go into the Bedtime screen in your alarm clock app, you’ll now see your sleep time plotted in a graph. You can toggle Bedtime on and off by tapping the green sliding icon at the top right of the screen.

Viewing your sleep stats

You can view your most recent sleep stats by going into the alarm clock app and looking at the Bedtime screen.

The at-a-glance way to read your analysis is to see if all your “Sleep History bars” are aligned. To see more in-depth data, tap the option to view “More history” at the bottom of the screen.

This then opens your iPhone’s Health app, which is where your sleep history is stored.

From Health, you can view your data on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis in graph format. Tapping on the graph will bring up your data in a list format.

Changing your settings

To adjust your settings at any time, simply go into the Bedtime screen of your alarm clock app and tap “Options” at the top left of your screen.

From here you can change the days you want Bedtime enabled, your reminder time, what sound you wake to and the volume.

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