If you find it hard to part with your iPhone at night you should be using Night Shift. It's a simple built-in feature that will stop your brain getting all confused about bedtime.

Let us ask you one question: do you think much about sleep? If the answer is no, then you’re clearly getting all you need (that’s between 7 and 9 hours a night, according to the experts). But if the answer is “it is literally all I think about,” then have a hug from us.

If you’re not sleeping very much or very well it’s probably a good idea to look at how you use your phone at night. Between exams, work, family and the occasional spontaneous night of binge-watching, there are bigger things in life to keep us up at night without our phones getting involved too. But they’re the cause of an increasing number of restless nights, all because of the light they give off; specifically, blue light.

Now, in the daytime blue light from a screen looks great – it mimics the blue light we see in the daytime so everything looks lifelike. But at night, blue light isn’t as natural. Your brain sets its sleeping and waking clock from the arrival and departure of daylight, and it will easily mistake blue screen light for the signal to rejoin the Wide Awake Club.

Experts recommend putting down our phones two hours before bedtime, so our brains can stop processing one kazillion gigabytes of data and start winding down. But if, like us, you can’t imagine bedtime without reading on your iPhone (or find it difficult to resist the lure of after-dark Whatsapp bants) then Night Shift is your friend. It even works on the iPad, too.

Phones are good for last-minute lists and sending those messages you hadn’t got around to in the day, so you may not want to shut them out of the bedroom completely. But they’re even better when they work in harmony with our bodies. Night Shift changes the ‘temperature’ of the colours your screen is displaying, transforming that stimulating blue light into a ‘warmer’ colour that doesn’t tell your brain to wake up.

Get Night Shift running right away

If you’ve upgraded your iPhone to iOS11 (or you have an iPhone X or iPhone 8) and like to keep your settings at your fingertips, you’ll find the Night Shift control tucked away in the Brightness setting of your Control Center.

Don’t be fooled by the crescent moon button on that screen, that’s for the ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature – but maybe cutting out distractions will help you sleep better at night too.

Tap on that Brightness setting, then you’ll see the Night Shift button at the bottom of the screen. Hold your finger on it to turn it on and off again, and control the colour temperature with the slider.

Want to control Night Shift even quicker than this? Just ask Siri.

How to turn on Night Shift modevia Three

Sync Night Shift with natural daylight…

This is a nice little option, because it helps shift our brain activity back to natural cycles. Make sure your phone’s Location setting is switched on, so your phone knows what times your local sunsets and sunrises take place.

Open up ‘Settings’, then select ‘Display & Brightness’, then select ‘Night Shift’. Where it says ‘Scheduled’ toggle to ‘On’.

Then where it says ‘From/To’, select the option ‘Sunset to Sunrise’.

…or make it work to your timetable

If you’re a shift worker, this setting is priceless for resetting your sleep cycles for night work.

Open up ‘Settings’, then select ‘Display & Brightness’, then select ‘Night Shift’. Where it says ‘Scheduled’ toggle to ‘On’.

Tap on ‘From/To’, then select ‘Custom Schedule’. You’ll be asked for the time you want it to come on, and the time you want it to end.

Switch Night Shift on or off manually

Need a nap now? Here’s how you can enable it for one night only.

Like before, open ‘Settings’, select ‘Display & Brightness’, then tap ‘Night Shift’. Select ‘Manually Enable Until Tomorrow’ and toggle to switch on. Repeat these steps to turn it off manually before morning.

Change the colour temperature

Once you’re in the Night Shift control settings page, you can set your screen’s colour using the ‘Colour Temperature’ slider. You can go from ‘Less Warm’ to ‘More Warm’; if you can get used to the warmest colour temperatures you’re exposing yourself to the smallest possible amount of blue light. Congratulations – and your brain thanks you. Night-night. 🙂


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