If you love tracking your sleep with your Apple Watch but find that your watch’s screen isn’t dimming or turning off like it used to, you aren’t alone. It recently happened to me after updating to Apple’s latest watchOS.
Suddenly, sleep mode isn’t dimming my watch face or locking the screen, and the bright light from my watch keeps waking me up, making it harder to get back to sleep.
So, yup. I needed this fixed asap…
- How to track your sleep stages with Apple Watch
- Sleep science and wearables, health applications beyond your usual sleep metrics
- How to turn on Sleep Mode on your Apple Watch
- How to track your sleep using Apple Watch or iPhone using third-party apps
Set your watch’s screen to dim and reduce distractions during your sleep
Although it took me a while to figure it out, it was actually a pretty simple settings adjustment. Here’s what worked for me on my Apple Watch running the latest watchOS (the Sleep app is available in watchOS 8+.)
- On your Apple Watch, open the Settings app.
- Scroll down and tap the Sleep app.
- Check that you toggled on Turn on at Wind Down or Turn On at Bedtime.
- Then scroll down and toggle on Sleep Screen–this setting dims your screen and reduces distractions from your watch or phone.
- Scroll further down and toggle on Show Time if you want to show the date and time on your Apple Watch while sleeping. If not, toggle this off.
- Continue to scroll down and check that you turned on Sleep Tracking and decide if you want Charging Reminders or not.
If you want to change these settings using your iPhone, open the Health app > Browse. Then tap the Sleep tile. Scroll down and tap Options.
Another option if you schedule your bedtime is to turn on Apple’s Wind Down feature.
Wind Down automatically reduces distractions before your scheduled bedtime and turns on sleep mode, so your watch display turns off and Do Not Disturb turns on.
How to use Sleep’s Wind Down
You can only add a Wind Down if you toggle on Sleep Schedule and have a set sleep schedule.
- On your watch, open the Sleep app.
- Scroll down and tap Full Schedule.
- Verify that Sleep Schedule is on and that you see a listed schedule below.
- Scroll down to the Options section and tap Wind Down.
- Tap the plus and minus icons to choose a Wind Down duration in 15-minute intervals.
- Once set, your watch’s screen dims and eventually turns off before your scheduled bedtime and engages the sleep focus mode (do not disturb for sleep) to reduce other distractions, like notifications.
You can also change these settings using your iPhone. Open Settings > Focus > Sleep. Go to a listed sleep schedule and tap Schedule and Options. Find Wind Down under the section Additional Details.
If you want to control your Sleep Focus using Control Center, do not turn on Wind Down. If it’s already on, change the duration to zero to turn it off.
Wind-downs only work on days when you schedule your sleep. So if you set a sleep schedule for the workweek but not on weekends, you’ll only have wind-downs on weekdays.
Is your Apple Watch still not dimming its screen when tracking your sleep and using the sleep focus?
If you turned on the Sleep Screen option and tried a Wind Down, but your watch’s screen continues to turn on randomly during the night and when sleeping, try these additional troubleshooting steps.
Disable sleep on your watch and re-enable it
- Open the Settings app and choose Sleep.
- Scroll down and tap Don’t Use This Watch for Sleep.
- Confirm you don’t want to use the watch for sleep.
- Wait a few moments, then tap Use This Watch for Sleep.
- Scroll down and verify that you have toggled on all the features you want.
Toggle sleep tracking off and on
- Open the Settings app, choose Sleep, and scroll down to turn sleep tracking off. Wait a few moments and toggle it back on.
Delete all sleep schedules and add them back
- Open the Sleep app on your Apple Watch and choose Full Schedule. Tap a listed schedule, then scroll down and select Delete Schedule to remove that existing schedule.
- Repeat for all listed schedules.
- Once you remove all sleep schedules, tap Set Your First Schedule, choose your wake-up and bedtimes, and select any alarms if desired.
You can also delete your sleep schedules in the Health app on your iPhone. Tap Browse > Sleep > Full Schedule & Options. Tap Edit for the schedule you want to remove and choose Delete Schedule at the bottom of the screen. Repeat for any additional sleep schedules, then tap Done. Then tap the Add button and enter your sleep schedules again.
Want your watch to dim or turn off its screen but need certain notifications?
You’ll want to adjust your Sleep Focus settings if you want specific alerts, phone calls, text messages, and other notifications to come through even at nighttime and when sleeping.
Customize your Sleep Focus to allow important notifications and phone calls from people and apps important to you. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Focus > Sleep.
Scroll to ALLOWED NOTIFICATIONS section and tap People and Apps to make changes.
Only contacts and apps listed are allowed to display on your watch and iPhone when you activate the sleep focus. For everyone else and the rest of your apps, your Sleep Focus filters out notifications and phone calls and signals that you’re not available at this time.
Hopefully, your Apple Watch is now tracking sleep and dimming or turning off its screen, so you aren’t distracted at night or, worse, wake up because of your watch’s bright screen.
If these tips didn’t do the trick for you or something else did, let us know so we can pay it forward.