Tech tricks for a good night’s sleep


What’s the last thing you do before bed? Do you play games on your phone, or check your emails and social media notifications? As useful as our smartphones, tablets and other tech devices can be, they can also be disruptive and our habits before bed can influence how well we sleep. We previously looked at ways to nix your mobile notifications to stay more focused but now we’re taking a look at how you technology can impact the way you sleep. A good night’s sleep is incredibly important to your health and general wellbeing, so it’s a good idea to make some tweaks to your devices to make sure you can nod off easily and you don’t get woken up at the wrong time.

Enable Do Not Disturb mode

While you may be happy for your phone to beep and buzz during the day, it’s another matter entirely at 3AM! An easy way to make sure your slumber goes uninterrupted is to schedule a Do Not Disturb mode on your phone during the hours you’re typically asleep. While this mode is enabled, sounds and vibrations from notifications, calls and SMS will be silent so your sleep isn’t disturbed. Check out these guides for iOS and Android:


Get rid of light pollution

We’re willing to be that you go to bed with the curtains or blinds shut so you don’t get rudely awakened by the morning sunlight coming through your window. However, you may also have sources of light inside your bedroom which could be bothering you when you’re trying to get to sleep. If the little status/standby lights on devices such as TVs, DVD players, air conditioners and even the display on digital alarm clocks are keeping you awake at night, it’s time to take action. One thrifty way to do this is to simply cover them with electrical tape. If you’d like to be able to see the light without being exposed to any glare or halo effects from a full-strength LED light, consider a light-dimming sticker such as Light-Dims.


Tune out to some white noise

When you’re trying to get to sleep, the sound of deathly silence can actually be a little unnerving. While you certainly want some peace and quiet, when things are too quiet, you’re more likely to suddenly hear unwanted and just plain irritating noises such as faucet drips or passing cars outside. One way to relax and tune out is with white noise, which is a quiet, repetitive audio track that contains sounds from all different frequencies, so it’s great for masking other sounds. There are a variety of free white noise apps available which will let you set different types of white noise on a timer, such as White Noise by TMSoft (available on iTunes and Google Play).


Get to know your sleep cycle

When you hear people talking about a “body clock”, they may be referring to a Circadian Rhythm, which is a 24-hour cycle of rest and activity that varies from person to person. While some people may not even feel tired until late at night, others may be crawling into bed at 8PM and bouncing up at the crack of dawn. Even while you are sleeping, you’ll also cycle through different stages of light, deep and REM sleep. Apps such as Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock (available on iTunes and Google Play) can help you keep track of your sleep cycle by monitoring your sound and movements while you snooze. Then, you can set a time range for when you’d like to wake up and the app will gently introduce a wake-up alarm during your lightest stage of sleep so you get out of bed feeling refreshed.


Try to give the tech a rest before bed

It’s no secret that Aussies love their smartphones with over 89% of us having a phone of our own. However, if your phone’s screen is one of the last things you’re seeing before you lay down to sleep, you could be doing yourself a disadvantage. While current academic consensus suggests there are no known health effects of day-to-day exposure to blue light from our phone screens, research has found a link between technology use before bed and compromised sleep. Instead of watching TV, scrolling on your phone or playing video games just before bed, get into the habit of doing a zero-tech activity. This could be as simple as reading a book, writing a diary entry, meditating or going through a bedtime routine that preps you for the next day. Just before bed is also a great time to go through some stretches to help you unwind after a long day.


Do you have some advice for getting a good night’s sleep? Share it with us in the comments.

Image credits


  1. Josh says:

    Downloaded the white noise app, wish me luck!
    Thanks G

  2. Fran Hughes says:

    I use an app called Rain Rain. Has lots of different noises and you can use any combination which sounds good to you. I like a combination of airliner, thunder cracks and blizzard wind. Can be set to turn off whenever you want.

  3. D says:

    Thanks for a comprehensive, well referenced article.

  4. Serena says:

    Although technically still ‘tech’, I go off to sleep and sleep more deeply after watching an asmr YouTube video on my iPad, especially whispered, massage asmr by Itsblitzzz. Because it isn’t interactive your mind can relax and when you do close your eyes you can hear the lovely soft whisper of Julia. I barely stay awake past 5-10 mins.

  5. Graeme Thomson says:

    Techniques to assist sleep in non specific sleep disorders.

    1. Only go to be when you are sleepy
    2. Go to bed when you are sleepy
    3. Do not stay awake in bed for more than 30 minutes unless you are becoming sleepy and are resting peacefully. This also applies if you wake during the night.
    4. Avoid thinking and worrying in bed. (See below).
    5. If the bedroom clock helps you to worry. Cover it or turn it around.
    6. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, exercise and large meals near bed time.
    7. Have a bed time routine.
    8. Restrict non sleep activities in bed to 30 mins. If you want to read for 1 hour before you sleep do the first 30 mins somewhere else.
    9. Don’t nap during the day or evening. If you can’t watch TV without napping don’t watch it.
    10. Get up at the same time each day. If you want to sleep in one morning a week, do so for no more than one hour.
    11. Exercise regularly
    12. Relax at least once per day in a way that suits you. – meditate, gardening, listening to music etc.

    Don’t expect immediate results. Things might get a bit worse for a while as your body and brain resists the change of habit. Adhere strictly to these 12 techniques for 6 weeks and the quality of your sleep will improve. After 6 weeks you can be more flexible. If your sleep quality deteriorates go back to following the 12 techniques for another 6 weeks.

    How to avoid thinking and worrying in bed
    1. If you are worrying about something say the following to your self as many times as you need to: “I worried about this today, I can worry about it again tomorrow, now is the time to rest.” If you worry at night and not during the day, set aside some time during the day (10 or 20 mins) and do nothing but worry during that time.
    2. Imagine you are in one of your favourite places while practicing muscle relaxation techniques
    3. Focus down on the present by the following exercise.
    Name 5 things that you can hear
    Name 5 things that you can feel
    Name 5 things which you could see if you opened your eyes.
    Then name 4 things you can hear, feel and see. (You can use the same things you used in the list of 5.
    Then name 3 things as above, then 2 and 1.

  6. Helen says:

    You didn’t mention the blue light from screens that research has shown can affect circadian rhythms, which is odd in an article about tech. There are apps you can get that remove the blue/white light from the screen on your device if it doesn’t have it built in. Also, is TV such an issue before bed? I can generally get straight to sleep after tv (or fall asleep in front of it!) – it’s the close up watching of things on devices that seems to have a greater impact.

    Also napping during the day doesn’t affect your sleep at night necessarily – people of have a short restorative nap mid afternoon actually function better than without the nap, and that 15-20 mins makes no difference come bedtime!

  7. Helen says:

    Oops, you did mention blue light!! Apologies!

  8. Kaz says:

    Good tips – have sent them on to my grandson who is on a screen half the night! Great suggestions too from Graeme Thomson – thanks.

  9. AJ says:

    Never knew about the Do Not Disturb function. Thank you!!

  10. Luke says:

    Faucet drips. What the hell is a faucet? This is Australia.

  11. Neil Campbell says:

    Take tWO Temazepamsleeping tablets ,No Problem Good night

  12. Susan says:

    I am with you Neil, tried all sorts of relaxation exercises, basically can’t turn off my brain. Temaze works for me but when I found 1 tablet would get me off to sleep when nothing else helped, I tried just a half as I worry I may become too dependent, 1/2 tablet works for me and many of my girlfriends. A good night for me is when I wake and know I didn’t take anything to help me sleep.

  13. Graeme says:

    It’s “lie down to sleep”, not “lay down to sleep”. The word “lay” needs an object, such as a tablecloth, an egg etc or is used for the past tense of “lie”.