Our trusted gadgets are in constant communication with us, ringing and buzzing whenever friends want to chat, new shows arrive on Netflix, or coworkers send crucial memes over Slack. These audible alerts may be useful during the day, but they're not welcome at night. You don't want your sleep interrupted by breaking news stories, messages from colleagues on the other side of the world, or an update on your podcast download queue.
Here's how to quiet the gadgets you might have within earshot of your bed until the morning comes.
Silence Your Apps
Before you get to fiddling with your smartphone's settings, look through the apps you've got installed—particularly if one or two keep interrupting your slumber. Tweaking the notification settings on these apps can be more effective than silencing your phone altogether.
Slack is a good example, if folks from work are disturbing you across multiple channels and time zones. In the app, open the You tab located at the bottom right and choose Pause notifications. Pick one of the suggested times or a custom timeframe. To further tweak your alerts and create a daily schedule, go back to the You tab and click Notifications.
Maybe you've got group chats that often stay active way past your bedtime; most messaging apps let you mute individual threads. In Messenger from Meta, for instance, open a conversation, then tap its name at the top. Click on the bell that says Mute to stop receiving notifications.
If TikTok keeps you awake at night—not your constant scrolling but incoming notifications—go to your profile and click the three lines at the top right of the screen. Open Settings and privacy, then Push notifications. Here you can toggle alerts off from direct messages and other interactions.
You might find it more useful to mute all the notifications on your phone overnight, but if it's just one or two apps causing you problems, app-by-app settings might be the way to go. It means notifications from other apps—such as incoming phone calls—can carry on as normal.
Shut Up Your Smartphone
Both iOS and Android have a Do Not Disturb mode that will silence all incoming notifications on your phone—with some exceptions, if needed. It's perhaps the easiest and most effective way of stopping your smartphone from waking you up unnecessarily halfway through the night.
On an iPhone, from Settings go to Focus and click Do Not Disturb. On this page, you can pick apps and people to exclude from the mode and create a daily schedule. Sleep is another Focus mode worth checking out that can align with your bedtime schedule.
Over on Android, open Settings and pick Sound & vibration, then Do Not Disturb, and then Schedules. Again, you can set specific hours when Do Not Disturb kicks in automatically.
On top of the standard Do Not Disturb settings, you've also got some extra tools. In the case of iOS, from Settings pick Screen Time then Downtime. You're able to set certain hours at night when only certain apps will work, notifications and all. It's a good option when you need something more granular than Do Not Disturb.
On Android, meanwhile, the equivalent feature is called Bedtime mode. Pick Digital Wellbeing & parental controls from Settings, then Bedtime mode. It can essentially turn your phone screen gray for the specified “snoozing” hours, as well as applying the default Do Not Disturb settings at the same time.
Keep Your Smart Speaker Quiet
For the majority of the time, your smart speakers won't make a sound unless they're spoken to. They're not suddenly going to interrupt your sleep unless you've set a timer or an alarm, and you don't have to worry about them piping up with the latest news headlines in the early hours.
Both Google and Amazon's smart speakers let you block alerts and have special modes when they'll respond more quietly to voice prompts. Those quiet modes can be handy if you don't want to disturb the other people in your home.
For Google speakers, open the Google Home app and tap on the speaker in question. Then tap the cog icon in the top-right corner and click Notifications & digital wellbeing. Choose Night mode then Enable night mode, and the audio volume will automatically be lowered during the times you specify. If the speaker has a screen, you can lower its brightness. You can also turn on a Do Not Disturb mode that will block any sounds that might come through at night, like reminders. Your alarms and timers will still work as normal.
With Echo speakers, open the Alexa app on your phone, tap Devices, then Echo & Alexa, then the name of your speaker. From there, you can tap Do Not Disturb, which you can either turn on manually or set on a schedule. Any reminders, timers, or alarms will still give you an alert in this mode.
To enable Whisper Mode on an Alexa—which makes audio responses quieter—just say "Alexa, turn on whisper mode." You can also do so under Settings, Account Settings, and Alexa Voice Responses in the Alexa app.
The Apple HomePod doesn't have an equivalent Do Not Disturb or night mode of any description, but as with all of these speakers, you can make it quieter. Just tell Siri to lower the volume, or to set it to a number between 1 and 100, or use the volume controls on the top of the device.
Mute Your Laptop or Desktop
Sleeping next to a laptop or desktop is less common than sleeping next to a phone, but it may be hard to avoid for people who have a computer setup in their bedroom. Other than just turning it off at night, here’s how to silence a computer and ensure no pesky, late-night notifications interrupt your slumbering.
In Windows, click the cog icon on the Start menu to open Settings. Choose Focus Assist and then Alarms only to set up a Do Not Disturb mode. Use the During these times toggle to set it on a regular schedule every evening. You even get a summary of the alerts you missed when you check again in the morning.
To take app-by-app control over notifications, select Settings and go to System then Notifications & access. Alternatively, pick System then Sound to mute the audio on your system; that way you won't be disturbed by anything.
If you're using macOS, you can temporarily enable the Do Not Disturb mode by holding the Option key and clicking the Notification Center icon in the far right of the desktop menu bar. Incoming notifications won't make a sound or show up onscreen, though they will still collect in the Notification Center.
To schedule Do Not Disturb mode, open the Apple menu and pick System Preferences, then select Notifications and choose your time period. You can also disable notifications from particular apps on this screen. As on Windows, you could just mute macOS when you go to bed by clicking on the audio icon on the menu.
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