iPhone Wind Down Time: How to Make It Work for You

The Sleep Schedule settings can be a pain if you don't know what you're doing, but Wind Down Time can be valuable to those looking to improve their sleep. Learn the best tricks to get the most out of it.

This article will tell you how to use the iPhone's new Wind Down feature to benefit your bedtime routine. The Sleep Schedules introduced with iOS 14 have a lot of potential to get people on the right track when it comes to their bedtime routines, but it can also be a nuisance if you don't optimize it for your personal habits. Wind Down Time is a mode where your phone goes into Do Not Disturb mode to encourage you to stop your usual activities and — you guessed it — wind down. This can be overridden on your lock screen, and you can also set up shortcuts to the activities that help you wind down, so you don't have to open your whole phone and see all the notifications vying for your attention that you should really leave until the morning. When I set up my first Sleep Schedule I was annoyed at the Wind Down notifications and subsequent Do Not Disturb mode. However, if you take just a little extra time to think about your own habits and what helps you settle down at night, Wind Down mode can be a very useful tool to help your mind settle down at the end of the day. So here are the best ways to get the most out of Wind Down mode and, if all else fails, how to turn off your Sleep Schedules.

Related: iOS 14: How to Set Up Multiple Bedtimes Using the Sleep Feature on the iPhone

What's in This Article

How to Set Wind Down Time

First, the basics. If you aren't yet familiar with Wind Down Time, let's take a look at how to set it up. For more great ways to optimize iOS 14, check out our Tip of the Day.

  1. Open your Health app.
  2. Tap Browse.

  3. Tap Sleep.
  4. Tap Full Schedule & Options.

  5. Tap Wind Down to select the time before your bedtime that Wind Down will Begin. Tap Wind Down Shortcuts to set a shortcut. (We'll cover what to choose and why in the next section.)

Make Wind Down Time Work for You

Now, let's take a look at the best ways use Wind Down Time to benefit your personal routine. Here are three ways to make sure you're getting the most out of this new feature.

1. Choose Shortcuts You'll Use

Whether you want to read more in the evening, treat your body to some stretches, or just want to hear some peaceful sounds, Wind Down Shortcuts are a great way to make sure your healthy habits are easily available to you during Wind Down Time, while keeping the rest of your phone behind the Sleep Mode barrier. The important thing here is to choose Wind Down activities that you actually will want to do, not things that sound like a good idea but that you aren't interested in. Here are some of the options:

  • Journaling. Many people find journaling a helpful way to decompress from the day. Whether you have a favorite app for journaling or just want to use the Notes app that comes on your phone, setting a journaling shortcut may be a great way to spend your Wind Down time.
  • Music. Do you have a favorite nighttime playlist? If you set a music app like Spotify or Apple music as a Wind Down shortcut you can get straight to the sounds that help you relax. I like to play my daughter lulabies every night, so having these songs as a Windn Down Shortcut helps me not get distracted by the other things to do on my phone while my daughter is settling in.
  • Podcasts. Did you know listening to a language even if you're not consciously comprehending the meaning helps you learn it? A lot of people like to listen to podcasts in languages they're trying to learn as they go to sleep to help their brain integrate it. You can also just listen to a topic of interest or a voice you find soothing as you drift off. Remember, you can set a time for the podcast to stop so you don't miss too much.
  • Reading. Just because I'm not scrolling through Twitter doesn't mean I don't want to be reading anything on my phone. Having my Kindle app as a Wind Down Shortcut keeps me monotasking so I can focus on the story instead getting distracted by incoming texts.

There are plenty of other options, including mindfulness, yoga and stretching, and more, so be sure to check out all the options! If you choose the right Wind Down Shortcuts, your evening is sure to go more smoothly.

2. Choose a Realistic Wind Down Time

The default Wind Down time is 45 minutes. For some, that might be too long and for others, that might be too short. Think carefully about when you want to be off your phone for good (besides your set shortcuts) for the evening. Do you really not want to go on it after 7 p.m. even though you won't actually be going to sleep until 10:00? Set your bedtime and choose a Wind Down time. Three hours is the maximum, while the shortest Wind Down Time option is fifteen minutes, so you have plenty of room to play around and see what works!

3. Allow Important Calls During Do Not Disturb by Adding Contacts to Your Favorites List

Did you know you can allow calls from your Favorite contacts while in Do Not Disturb mode? Learning this was a game changer for me, as I tend to feel anxious when my most important contacts can't reach me by phone. I know no one will be calling after 9 p.m. unless it's an emergency, so allowing calls from my family members even once I've entered Wind Down Time helps me more fully commit to not browsing my phone. I can ignore any texts that come in while knowing I'll still get my most important calls. Especially if you don't have a landline, this can be a super helpful trick for anyone looking to get off their phone for the evening while still being reachable to your favorite contacts.

How to Turn Off Sleep Mode

If you've tried all this out and still just don't like having a Sleep Schedule on your phone, you can remove your Sleep Schedules entirely. To do this:

  1. Open your Health app.
  2. Tap Browse.

    Open your health apptap browse
  3. Tap Sleep.
  4. Tap Full Schedule & Options.

    tap sleeptap full schedule & options
  5. Tap Edit under the schedule you wish to delete.
  6. Scroll down until you see Delete Schedule and tap.

    tap edittap delete schedule
  7. Repeat for any and all Sleep Schedules you wish to delete. You can always set it up again if you change your mind.
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Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both's picture

Author Details

Amy Spitzfaden–Both

Amy Spitzfaden Both is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, an award-winning novelist, and an iPhone enthusiast. Over the past decade, her work in the publishing industry has included live coverage of industry events including the Yale Publishing Course and Magazine Innovation’s ACT 9 Experience, providing editing services for several start-up publishing houses, and acting as newsstand consultant for magazines such as The Old Farmer’s Almanac and The New York Review of Books. She graduated from M.I.U. with a Bachelor’s in Literature and Writing, and has gone on to publish two novels and two short stories. Her debut novel Untold won the 2014 Chelson Award for Fiction.
Writing everything from book reviews to skincare tips, Amy discovered a passion for bringing exciting and useful information to even the most casual researcher. The mix of usability and endless possibilities is what drew her to Apple products originally, and the more she learns, the more she loves.
Amy lives in New Hampshire with her husband and daughter. When she’s not writing or glued to her iPhone, she enjoys hiking, traveling, and creating her own tea blends.