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Blue light is known for causing sleep issues. Your brain mistakes it for sunlight and it basically messes up your internal clock. So, when you’re super bright Apple Watch lights up the room at 11:30 pm, like a firework display, it can be pretty aggravating.

Fortunately, we know of a few reasons that may cause your Apple Watch to light up and a few ways to permanently put a stop to it. You can use Theater Mode or Focus, along with ensuring that you have a strong, stable power supply for charging. 

AdobeStock_258503198 smart watch with leather straps. close up of side adjuster on wood background

The Apple Watch is designed for near-total integration with your iPhone. While it will do the same with an iPad, you lose a sense of portability. The point is, most of the day-to-day features on the iPhone are available and just as useful on the Apple Watch.

4 Fixes to Apple Watch Lighting Up At Night

1. Using Focus

Focus is a feature that turns your iPhone into a device that works around you and your schedule. If you need to focus on work, get a better night’s sleep, or go to a movie theater, Focus keeps your iPhone silent (or at least as silent as you want it to be).

Fortunately, this feature is the same on the Apple Watch. Like the iPhone, you’ll find the associated moon symbol on the Apple Watch as well. While you can set the Focus on your iPhone to share across all devices, you can also mess with the feature on the watch.


  1. Open the Settings menu on your iPhone
  2. Select the Focus symbol (the moon)
  3. Turn on the toggle for Share Across Devices

Apple Watch

  1. Touch and hold the bottom of the Apple Watch screen
  2. While holding, swipe up
  3. Look for the moon symbol in the resulting Control Panel and select it
  4. Select one of the four options
  5. To turn it off, return to the Control Center and touch the symbol again

The Apple Watch only has four options in Focus—1-Hour, On Until This Evening, On Until Tomorrow Morning, and On Until I Leave. If you want a more complex suite of options and more control over the Focus actions on your Apple Watch, you’ll need to jump back on the iPhone.

  1. Go to the Settings menu
  2. Select Focus
  3. Select the + symbol at the top, right-hand corner
  4. Select the Focus you want to create
  5. Set the parameters
  6. Ensure that the toggle is on for Share Across Devices

As long as the toggle is on, your Apple Watch will follow your Focu setup on the iPhone.

2. Raise-to-Wake Feature

Companies thought it would be a good idea to lump a horrific feature like raise-to-wake on their customers. Apple and the Apple Watch are no exceptions. In theory, the raise-to-wake feature is great. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take into account how often we move around.

A simple gesture is enough to set off raise-to-wake or heaven forbid we put our smartphones in our pockets. Before you walk 50 yards, the battery is nearly dead as the phone constantly engages the raise-to-wake function as you move.

Unfortunately, it gets worse. It’s not as if the technology is not sound, especially in an Apple device, it’s just that its applicability is in question. If you sleep with a box fan and there’s a strong breeze in the room, believe it or not, that could be enough to set off the raise-to-wake feature.

If you raise or shift your arm to the slightest degree, it could be enough to set the feature off as well. The best thing to do in this scenario is just turn the function off.

  1. Open the Settings app on the Apple Watch
  2. Select ‘General’
  3. Select ‘Wake Screen’
  4. Toggle off the Raise-to-Wake feature

On the bright side, that’s all there is to it. As some advice that will save you a lot of headaches down the road, create a routine where you turn the feature on and off at a set time each day.

3. Turn on Theater Mode

This is one of those strange features that Apple decided to go with in their Apple Watch designs. The only real advantage to Theater Mode is that it keeps the screen dim when you use it because that doesn’t aggravate other people inside a theater.

Why this feature wasn’t just integrated into the Focus feature is a strange design decision. Who knows? Either way, it’s available if you like the idea of waking up in the middle of the night and checking the time without permanently blinding yourself.

You will have to double-tap the screen to activate the watch, as Theater Mode deactivates Raise-to-Wake.

In Theater Mode, you still get notifications and all the essential functions of the Apple Watch, just without the blazingly bright light in the middle of the night.

You can combine Theater Mode with Focus and turn off notifications, which again brings up the decision not to just integrate Theater Mode into Focus. To turn on Theater mode, touch the bottom of the screen and swipe up to access the Control Panel.

From here, simply tap the mask symbol to turn on theater mode. The masks are reminiscent of live theater productions because reasons.

AdobeStock_101520172 Smartwatch. Fitness tracker. Activity tracker on gradient grey background

4. Create a Sleep Mode Schedule

If there’s one thing that Apple Watches are good at, it’s health stuff. Once upon a time, FitBits were the end-all-be-all of health smartwatches. Not anymore. Credit where credit is due—Apple Watches are phenomenal health and fitness devices. This includes the Sleep Mode.

  1. Open the Settings menu on the Apple Watch
  2. Select Sleep
  3. Enable Turn on Bedtime
  4. Enable Sleep Screen
  5. Switch to your iPhone and open the Health app (a red heart)
  6. Select Browse
  7. Select the Sleep tile
  8. Create your own sleep schedule

Since your Apple Watch is connected to your iPhone, the health settings you mess with in your iPhone are automatically carried over to the Apple Watch.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to be flashed with a bright light over and over again while they’re trying to sleep. This is especially true with those light sleepers out there.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options on both the Apple Watch and the associated iPhone to keep that screen off throughout the night, even if it’s just a dim screen instead.