Sleep Timer

Written by Chinmay Shankar

Last Updated June 13, 2024

If you wake up every morning to set the alarm (okay, most mornings), then why can’t you go to bed by setting one? Like an alarm clock acts as a wake-up call, consider a sleep timer as your bedtime call.

It is true that the pressure and pace of modern lifestyles have altered our sleep patterns. Trying to do everything in a day like work, exercise, reading, social media, and binge-watching has pushed us to this. Less sleep and reduced rest cycles don't make you an achiever overnight. But, a lack of rest can impact your productivity and quality of life.

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And no, mindfulness alone won’t help you here. You need what you need. Your body demands rest and rejuvenation. A night of good sleep can do that.

Should 5 hours of sleep be enough?

That's a good question but let's start from here. Have you ever wondered why we sleep? And why is the quota of sleep different for everyone you seem to know?

Sleep is like recharging our batteries. A good night spent in bed can repair the damages within our bodies and can help conserve our energy. But the most important function of sleep is to improve the neural connections in our brains.

sleep timer - train your mind for a better sleep

And that's why a baby needs more sleep time than an adult because they are in their formative years. On average, newborns should sleep for 14 to 17 hours. Infants should get a sleep time between 12 and 15 hours. And young or old adults can have a range of 7-9 hours of sleep duration.

So what will happen if, as an adult, you sleep less than the advisable range? The Journal of the American Heart Association states that sleeping less than six hours a night for a longer period can be fatal. It can increase mortality risk in adults by 13%. Lack of sleep has been one of the main reasons to induce 83% greater risks of heart complications.

Not just that, when you sleep less than 7 hours, it can make you irritable and moody the next day.  Lack of sleep also changes the way your body processes glucose, thus making you prone to obesity and type-2 diabetes.

In short, if you are sleeping less than the required hours, then you might be sleep deprived.

How can sleep deprivation affect you?

You wouldn't want your boss to know that you are slacking at work just because you didn't feel sleepy at night. And if you are the boss, you can't skip today's meeting. Even if you were slogging late at that mammoth 218 pages PowerPoint presentation. That’s why it is important for everyone to focus on their sleep.

Sleep deprivation affects your memory and learning. Lack of sleep impacts visual response time, as per the National  Institute of Health. A sleep-deprived person will have decreased motivation,  thus deteriorating performances.

A well-slept body has an alert mind. And when the human body has already allowed us a dedicated downtime, we should respect it. Hit that sleep timer like you hit the snooze button of an alarm clock.

Why can't I sleep at night?

Every individual’s sleep is his or her personal resource. And they should treat it as one. So to answer the question, the best way to know our sleep time is to know our body clock.

But not everyone can sleep comfortably at night. There could be several reasons for this insomnia. If you take a long time to fall asleep or wake up many times in between sleep or take a long nap in the afternoon, then all these factors could keep you awake at night.

You need to understand first that, like digital and mechanical clocks, our bodies too have a rhythm. No matter wherever you are, in a bat-cave or in a spaceship, your body keeps sending you signals. Whenever you feel drowsy or make a mistake, or don't feel like working, these are signs that you need to lie down a bit. Make darkness your friend.

A family couple in bed, the woman is awake with insomnia

Especially in the modern world, you have seen the streets and homes lit even at the darkest hours of the night. Or, your lifestyle choices have made you a night owl. Even when you feel comfortable working in the solace of the night, you need to set a dedicated time for your sleep.

A routine helps you restore balance in your life and keeps a check on your emotional and physical well-being. If you listen closely, then you will find that your inner clock can anticipate and adapt to daily changes in the environment. Since most of us are not connected with our bodies on this level, it is better to rely on our sleep timers.

Does setting an alarm help you sleep?

And how would we know our own me-time? When the world goes around, clocking and ticking 24X7? How to know what time is suitable for us? Or the time when we should lie down, leaving out all the distractions? The answer is different for different individuals.

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The best time, if you ask us, would be between 9 and 10 PM. Yes! It might be early but believe us it is actually good for you. All you have to do is to be consistent, and you will see the results. Go on, train your body with your buddy, sleep timer.

Isn't 9-10 pm too early to go to bed?

The answer is no. Like work procrastination, sleep procrastination is also a thing. Journal of Health Psychology phrase this as 'going to bed later than intended, without having external reasons to do so'. There is a connection between lack of self-regulation and insufficient sleep.

Usually, when we occupy our days with work and stress, we want to relax by delaying our bedtime - one last episode on Netflix, one last song on Spotify, and one last video on YouTube. Every action you take before your night sleep reduces your chances to sleep.

Man addicted to his mobile phone in bed

Being on your electronic device can pull you into the infinite rabbit holes of the internet. That’s why it is important to have a sleep timer set on your electronic devices. Keep sleep time sacrosanct. Go on, add sleep timers on your TV, tablets, laptops and smartphones. You will love it.

Yet it is easier said than done. Especially when we have so many distractions around, making it difficult for us.

Can screen time cause insomnia?

Committing our bodies to sleep in this age of round the clock communication is tough. Electronic devices, like smartphones and TV, block the hormone melatonin and affect our sleep cycle.

As per The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), exposure to blue light during nighttime can disturb your sleep. So should you leave your phone by the TV stand when you plan to sleep?

You can do that. But even that won't help if your mind is not at ease. Yes, distractions are not only around you; they are also inside you. If you are anxious or depressed, or in distress, you will spend the night tossing and turning in the bed.

Sometimes a heavy meal can do that too. So take a light meal supported by a glass of milk. A light chat with family members or a friend or your spouse can help. The thing is, all you need to do is to lower your emotional and physical guards before going to bed.

How do I set a sleep timer on my iPhone?

You can find a sleep timer in the Clock app of your iPhone. Start the clock app. Tap the timer at the bottom of the screen. Set the length of the timer in hours, minutes and seconds. 'When Timer Ends' screen will show you an option of 'stop playing'. Tap on Stop Playing, and your timer starts.

Now whether you watch videos or listen to songs, it will stop playing that media when the timer ends. Your iPhone will turn off the display and lock the screen, prompting you to sleep.

Do Android phones have a sleep timer?

No. Android doesn't come with a built-in app for a sleep timer, but there are many third-party apps for that. Let's say if you are the kind who likes music or podcasts a lot, then you can set a sleep timer in your Spotify app.

A young man holding a smartphone with Spotify app

Based on the quickness of your sleep, you can choose from 'end of track' or 'end of episode' options. These options go from a range of 5 minutes to an hour. You can also find similar sleep timer apps for your TV and your laptop that offer you timed shutdowns.

If you are looking for third-party apps, then you should check SleepTimer Ultimate. It comes with a lot of functionalities. If you are looking for one with a more handy interface and easy to use features, you can get Adios. There are similar apps available for a range of electronic devices. But the most important sleep timer is your mind. And once you train your mind, your body will follow its command.

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You should try a sleep timer for your next sleep. You might find the whole idea a bit amusing and experimental, but it comes from a mix of ancient wisdom and scientific research. Moreover, you will know it when you practice it. Imagine waking up rested without hitting the snooze button of a wake-up alarm! Sounds refreshing, right?

Disclaimer: What is said in this article has been referenced from multiple sources and is intended only for educational and informational purposes. Please note that no content in this article is a substitute for professional advice from a qualified doctor or healthcare provider. Always consult an experienced doctor with any concerns you may have regarding a health condition or treatment, and never disregard any medical suggestions or delay in seeking treatment because of something you read here.