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Apple’s recent Bedtime Mode addition is set to herald the snores of users the world over. “Why not just use a regular alarm?” we hear you ask. Let’s explore some of the features of Bedtime Mode and how they can make counting sheep a thing of the past.

How much sleep is enough?

Bedtime Mode functions based on the concept that a consistent sleep schedule has many overall health benefits, but the key to setting up your schedule is understanding how much sleep you need. This can vary from person to person, and even then day to day, but the generally accepted science is that it varies with age. Teenagers need up to 10 hours a night, adults fluctuate between 7 and 9 hours, and retirees fall slightly lower with 7-8 hours of shuteye nightly. Not getting enough sleep can leave you perpetually exhausted and at risk of cardiovascular and weight related complications.

Setting Up Bedtime

Getting started with Apple’s nifty sleep tracking tool takes a bit of time but is well worth the effort, allowing you to customise your experience to your specific needs. Originally located within the Clock app, the recent iOS update moved Bedtime to within the Health app. Begin by setting what time you would like to get up. You can then decide which days of the week you want to wake up at this time, eg. weekdays only. The app encourages you to wake up at the same time as many days of the week as possible, so if you’re looking to start an early wake up one day a week, sticking to the regular alarm app will work better for you.

Next, set how many hours of sleep you would like to get each night, aiming for at least 8 hours if you can. You can also set up a bedtime reminder that can pop up 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes prior to your bedtime in order to ensure you achieve a full night’s sleep in line with your goals. Finally, pick your alarm tone. The options here are a little less frantic than stereotypical tones, incorporating the natural sounds of birdsong and gentle piano melodies.

Tracking Your Sleep

Once set up and in use, you can view your sleep data in the Health app under Sleep. You can filter by day, week, month and year and see your nightly sleep average. You can also see if you woke up and partook in some midnight screentime.

Contrary to what our parents may say, the Bedtime Mode feature is definitive proof that smartphones can actually help us get a decent night’s sleep. Now we just need to figure out how to stop falling down the Snooze blackhole when waking up – any apps for that, Apple?

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