If you have trouble regularly getting a full night’s sleep, the new Bedtime feature in iOS 10 might just help. Set a wake up time and how many hours of sleep you need, and iOS offers bedtime reminders, more gentle alarms, and basic sleep tracking through the Health app.

RELATED: What You Can Do With Your iPhone’s Health App

To get started setting up your sleep routine, fire up your Clock app and tap the new “Bedtime” tab.

RELATED: How to Enable Night Shift On Your iPhone for Easy Nighttime Reading

The first time you access this tab, iOS will walk you through some simple steps for setting things up. You’ll also notice that the whole Clock app now appears in a dark mode. It’s actually really nice if you’re already in bed with the lights out and want to make some adjustments without staring at a bright screen. It’s even more eye-friendly than the Night Shift mode, which you should also absolutely use if you like to use your phone for some nighttime reading.

Go ahead and tap the “Get Started” button.

The first thing you’ll do is set the time you need to wake up. Do that and then tap “Next.”

Next, tell iOS what days of the week you want your wake up alarm to go off. By default, all days are selected, so just tap the days on which you want to turn the alarm off. Tap “Next” when you’re ready to move on.

Now, set the number of hours of sleep you’d like to get each night and then tap “Next.” And don’t worry, you’ll be able to change all of this later if you want.

iOS will deliver a bedtime reminder to you every night in the form of a notification. Select when you’d like to receive that notification and then tap “Next.”

The Bedtime feature includes a number of new sounds that are a bit gentler than than the typical alarm sounds. The old alarm sounds–and custom sounds–are also available, though, in case you need a little more oomph to rouse you from your slumber. Tap each sound to hear it play. Select the sound you want and then tap “Next” to move on.

That’s all you have to do to set up your new bedtime routine. Just tap “Save” to return to the main “Bedtime” tab of the Clock app.

Now, when you return to the “Bedtime” tab you’ll see a dial showing your bedtime, wake time, and the number of hours of sleep you can expect to get. To change your routine, all you have to do is slide either the bedtime or wake icons around on the dial. You’ll see the number of sleep hours change as you do this. You can change other things about your routine by tapping “Options” in the top left corner.

The “Bedtime Options” screen lets you change the days of the week the alarm is active, when your bedtime reminder goes off, and your wake up sound. You can also control the volume of your wake up sound here. The volume you set is independent of your main volume or other alarm volumes and applies only to your wake up sound.

Back on the “Bedtime” time, you can also scroll down just a bit to see a quick, seven-day history of your sleep. This analysis relies on your reported sleep activity and how you have your sleep routine set up. It doesn’t actually track movements during sleep the way some fitness trackers do, but it’s still a handy gauge of how much sleep you’ve been getting. If you want to see more of your sleep history, tap the “More history” link.

This takes you to the full Health app, where you can see your sleep history by day, week, month, or even year. Just note that you’ll be exiting the Clock app and you’ll get hit with the rather blinding white background and light colors used in the Health app.

While it’s not terribly sophisticated for tracking your sleep, the Bedtime feature is still nice for people who use their iOS devices as an alarm clock. Even if you don’t care too much about bedtime reminders, the new gentle wake up sounds, independent volume control, basic sleep history, and dark mode for the Clock app are all welcome additions.

Profile Photo for Walter Glenn Walter Glenn
Walter Glenn is a former Editorial Director for How-To Geek and its sister sites. He has more than 30 years of experience in the computer industry and over 20 years as a technical writer and editor. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and edited thousands. He's authored or co-authored over 30 computer-related books in more than a dozen languages for publishers like Microsoft Press, O'Reilly, and Osborne/McGraw-Hill. He's also written hundreds of white papers, articles, user manuals, and courseware over the years.
Read Full Bio »