Optimizing Smartphone Usage for a Good Night’s Sleep

Smartphone Habits and Sleep Disturbance

Our smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, serving as both entertainment hubs and workstations.

However, these same devices can contribute to sleep disturbances in a number of ways.

The blue artificial light emitted by smartphone screens, as discovered in a 2014 Harvard study, can disrupt our body clocks, making it challenging to fall asleep.

Moreover, a 2019 study among medical staff in Saudi Arabia found that 92.4 percent of individuals use smartphones right before going to bed, and those who do so are twice as likely to experience poor sleep quality.

Additionally, excessive use of social media, as revealed by a 2016 University of Pittsburgh study, can make individuals three times more likely to experience sleep disturbances.

Utilizing Sleep-Focused Features

Thankfully, smartphone manufacturers have recognized the need to address these issues and have integrated tools to help mitigate the impact of smartphone usage on sleep.

Both Apple and Android devices offer features that allow users to schedule bedtimes and reduce distractions.

Apple’s Sleep Focus mode

Available in the Health app, assists users in improving their sleep patterns by scheduling regular bedtimes.

Users can customize this schedule to accommodate variations on weekends.

Sleep Focus also enables users to silence notifications selectively, ensuring that critical messages are not missed.

Android users can benefit from Bedtime Mode

Offering an array of functions to minimize distractions and help improve sleep quality.

This mode allows users to silence their phones, switch the screen to black and white to reduce distractions, and activate Do Not Disturb mode, ensuring that only priority contacts can reach the user.

Bedtime Mode can be found in Android settings under Digital Wellbeing.

Incorporating Sleep-Inducing Sounds and Reducing Blue Light

For individuals who find sleep-inducing sounds helpful, iPhones offer a secret sleep sounds mode.

Users can access this feature by navigating to Settings > Accessibility > Audio/visual > Background Sounds.

Here, various soothing sounds, such as balanced noise, rain, ocean, and stream, can be manually triggered to aid in falling asleep without the need for additional apps.

One critical step in preparing for a good night’s sleep is reducing blue light exposure.

During the daytime, blue light can enhance attention, reaction times, and mood.

However, it can disrupt the circadian rhythm, leading to decreased sleep quality when encountered at night.

Both Android and iPhone devices provide features to “warm” the light emitted by the screen in the hours leading up to bedtime.

iPhone users can activate ‘Night Shift’

By navigating to Settings > Display and Brightness, and then selecting Night Shift.

Users can either schedule Night Shift for regular activation or enable it manually.

Android phones

Offer a similar function called ‘Night Light,’ which can be found in the settings under Display.

Users can schedule the screen to shift towards amber light or turn it on manually.

Scheduling Dark Mode

The bright light emitted by a smartphone’s screen, particularly when receiving notifications in a dark room, can be highly disruptive at night.

Scheduling Dark Mode can help mitigate this issue by transitioning the screen to a black display during evening hours.

On iPhones, users can enable this feature by going to Settings > Display & Brightness and selecting Automatic mode.

By utilizing these smartphone features and making a few adjustments, individuals can better manage their device usage to promote better sleep quality and maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

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