> Skip to content

Article  •  4 November 2019

 

Switch off before you drift off

From The Magic of Sleep, five tips for cutting out smartphone distractions.

After Alex Tew and Michael Acton Smith started their hugely successful guided meditation app Calm, they noticed something surprising while analysing the data. Every evening, around 11pm, there was a huge spike in usage. So they investigated, and realised that millions of people were using the app to help them fall asleep at night. This led to an idea: what if they could create unique bedtime tales for grown-ups that were designed to help people relax and drift off? Sleep Stories was born. And they have been a huge success – with over 150 million listens around the world.

Drawing on this success, as well as leading research and fascinating anecdotes, Acton Smith has created The Magic of Sleep: the ultimate handbook for healthy sleeping. We too often ignore the signs of sleepiness because we want to finish that project at work, enjoy nights out with friends or binge-watch the latest series on Netflix. And by running on too little sleep, we turn into quivering emotional wrecks who cannot process thoughts or problems efficiently. But small and significant changes can start to redress the balance.

The Magic of Sleep is designed to help you develop your own, customised daily habits for a better sleeping life. It’s packed with advice, trivia, quotes, stories and the latest scientific research to help inspire, educate and entertain you on your journey to better sleep. In the passage below, Acton Smith offers some tips for switching off before drifting off.

 

Make your phone sleep-friendly

1. Switch on night mode – such a setting reduces the brightness of your phone’s screen and filters out the blue light. If you like, you can automate this setting to turn on at a certain time every day. Certain apps, such as Twitter and f.lux, have night-time versions.

2. Set up an automatic ‘do not disturb’ or use airplane mode – this turns off all notifications and mutes all calls and messages. (Airplane mode lets you continue to use the alarm clock and/or certain apps.)

3. Turn off or customize notifications – some apps, such as Snapchat and Instagram, have default settings that trigger notifications to draw you back to the app. Customizing such settings can help you use your phone more mindfully.

4. Track and limit your usage – use an app like Moment, Toggl or Harvest, or even inbuilt features of your phone, to track your usage time. If you find yourself on Twitter until the early hours of the morning, it might be useful to switch off activity from a certain time or after a certain number of minutes in an app.

5. Listen to a story – Calm has a growing library of Sleep Stories in the form of sleep-inducing tales that mix soothing words, music and sounds to help listeners wind down and drift off to dreamland.


The Magic of Sleep Michael Acton Smith, DK

Discover amazing facts all about sleep, along with practical sleeping tips, in this illustrated book

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Article
The 50/30/20 rule

In Financially Literate Youth, Marlies and Jai Hobbs offer practical advice for managing your finances.

Article
Six stages of separation

In Breakup Bootcamp, Amy Chan walks readers through the first steps of dealing with heartbreak.

Article
A value proposition

Notebooks ready! From You’ve Got This, Bec Brown runs an exercise in evaluating what matters most.

Article
How to sleep better

Having some trouble getting a good night's sleep? Explore seven ways to sleep better, and ultimately live better, with Sleep: A Little Book of Self Care

Article
Let’s go to bed

From Use It or Lose It, Paul McIntyre details the benefits of sleep.

Article
10 tips for better sleep

From Restore, ten essential sleep routines to help you restore your power.

Recipe
Ricotta quinoa pancakes with banana

Try this recipe from Michelle Bridges’s Powerful Living: Take Control, Start Today.

Article
Tabitha Bird's inspiration

The Emporium of Imagination author on the power of magical realism.

Article
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Cloudstreet

Tim Winton and his publisher Nikki Christer reflect on 30 years of Cloudstreet.

Article
The Unsolved Mysteries that Inspired House of Hollow

Author Krystal Sutherland shares her favourite stories.

Article
Creative ideas for your egg hunt this Easter

Boost your Easter spirit by hiding books, chocolate and toys in eggs.

Article
The Most Anticipated YA Books of 2021

New stories from bestselling authors Lynette Noni, Becky Albertali, Karen M. McManus, Rick Riordan, and more.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles