An Apple Watch can be a super convenient and accurate way to track sleep, but what if the watch is actually disturbing your sleep? The bright screen randomly turning on in the middle of the night can be super frustrating when you just want a peaceful night’s rest. Luckily, there is a super easy way to make sure that your Apple Watch screen doesn’t turn on when you are trying to rest.
To turn the screen of an Apple Watch off at night, turn on Sleep focus, turn on the Always On feature, or put the smartwatch in Do Not Disturb mode. Sleep focus can be controlled from the quick-access menu on the smartwatch and in the settings on an iPhone.
Here are all the details on how to stop your Apple Watch screen from turning on by setting a bedtime schedule and turning on Sleep Focus.
Sleep Focus is built into the watch through the sleep app. It can be turned on manually anytime, but it will automatically turn on every night as long as you have a bedtime schedule set up. When Sleep Focus is on, it turns off the display and turns on the “do not disturb” function of the smartwatch.
Both of these features together are crucial in preventing your screen from turning on at all. “Do Not Disturb” by itself is not enough because it only prevents notifications from coming through.
Your watch screen might be turning on in the middle of the night because of the motion sensor that tells the screen to turn on when you turn your wrist to check the time. Rolling over or other movements while sleeping might trigger motion sensitivity and cause the screen to turn on. Sleep Focus turns off this motion sensitivity, so the screen will not turn on when you move.
If you do want to access your watch while sleep focus is on, you can definitely still turn it on. You just need to tap the screen to wake up the watch and then turn the digital crown (the small wheel on the side of the watch) in a complete circle to turn off Sleep Focus.
Setting up a bedtime schedule is the best and easiest way to control Sleep Focus. In the Sleep app, you can set up schedules that tell your watch when you are going to go to sleep and when you are going to wake up. You can adjust these schedules to match whatever you prefer your bedtime to look like.
An Apple bedtime schedule includes a sleep goal and wind-down time. The sleep goal is how long you actually want to be asleep, marked by bedtime and wake time. The wake time can optionally include an alarm, but it doesn’t have to if you prefer to wake up naturally or use some other type of alarm.
Wind-down time is how long you want to have before you fall asleep without distractions to help you get ready to go to sleep. This can begin any anytime before your scheduled bedtime or not be used at all. Starting at your wind-down time, the watch will turn on Sleep Focus, and it will stay on until your scheduled wake time or when you manually turn it off.
For example, if you want to sleep for 8 hours at night and you need to be up by 7 to get ready for work, set your bedtime for 11 pm and your wake time for 7 am with an alarm. If it normally takes you 15 or 20 minutes to fall asleep, you might set your wind-down time to start at 10:40 pm. At 10:40 pm, your watch will enter Sleep Focus.
Controls and Settings
You can easily turn on Sleep Focus anytime by swiping up on the watch face. When you swipe up, you will see a menu with a lot of quick control options.
One of these options is a symbol of a moon. If you tap on the moon, you will be brought to a screen that allows you to toggle on and off “Do Not Disturb” and “Sleep”. Tap on “Sleep” with the bed icon to activate sleep mode. You can use this whenever you want to stop the screen from turning on, even when it is not your usual bedtime.
Using the “Do Not Disturb” function will prevent the watch from alerting you about notifications, but the screen will still turn on when you turn your wrist and the motion sensors are activated.
The bedtime schedule, which will automatically turn on Sleep Focus every night, can be accessed through the Sleep app on the watch. All Apple Watches come with the Sleep app already installed. It is a light blue icon with a white symbol of a bed.
When you open the app for the first time, the watch will prompt you to set up a bedtime schedule. This should match whatever your normal schedule is. You can set up a different schedule for each day of the week if your schedule often varies. If anything ever changes, you can easily adjust any or all of your daily bedtime schedules later.
To change your current bedtime schedule, click on the banner that says “Full Schedule” in the Sleep app. This will lead you to a screen with any existing schedule that you can click on to edit, as well as a banner that prompts you to add additional schedules. Adding multiple schedules is a really good idea if you go to bed at different times on different days.
You can set up the schedules to repeat or not depending on the situation. A repeating schedule makes it so you never have to think about turning on sleep mode at the end of the night. One-time schedules are perfect for days when you have an event that changes your bedtime or wake time.
If you struggle to adjust the times and schedules on the small watch screen, you can also access bedtime schedules through the settings menu on your iPhone. Click on “Focus” with the moon icon in the settings menu, then click on “Sleep”. From there, you can click on your schedule to adjust it or add new ones. Using these settings will help you get a full night’s rest without being disturbed by any light that comes from your Apple Watch.