How to Use Android’s Do Not Disturb Mode to Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep

It happens all the time. It’s 2:00 am, and you finally fell asleep. Out of nowhere, your phone rings. You usually enjoy your “I Love Rock n Roll” ringtone, but in the middle of the night, not so much.
Panicked and slightly annoyed you grab it and answer it.

Wrong number. Now you’re really annoyed. And wide awake.

Studies show we are getting less quality sleep since our addiction to cell phones has begun. Many people use them as alarm clocks, and some don’t have a landline phone, so they need to keep their cell phone handy for emergencies. This means most people have their phones within inches of their heads while sleeping.

How can you stop your phone from waking you up at night or interrupting an important meeting? Use the built-in Do Not Disturb feature on your Android phone or download an app. Which one you want depends on how much customization you require.

Built-in Do Not Disturb Option

Most Android phones running Android 6.0 Marshmallow have a limited, yet functional, built-in option to silence notifications and calls.

1. To find the “Do Not Disturb” option, first slide down from the top to access your phone’s options.

2. Turn on “Do Not Disturb” by tapping the icon (a circle with a line across the middle).


Many phones will offer three choices immediately when you start Do Not Disturb Mode. On my phone I had to press “Details” to get to the options and other settings.

You have the option here to turn on Do Not Disturb now or schedule it.

Change the schedule for activating this feature by changing the days, start time, and end time.


Allow custom exceptions, so calls from specific contacts will be able to reach you if you fear an emergency. Set it to accept calls from all your contacts, only your favorite contacts, or nobody at all. You cannot make a custom list.

Activating the Repeat Callers option allows anyone who calls your number twice in a fifteen-minute span to break through the silence as well.

Do Not Disturb Apps

If you want more out of your Do Not Disturb setting on your phone than what the built-in option offers, there are several apps out there you may prefer.

Nights Keeper


Nights Keeper gives more options for you to customize your phone’s silent times.


When you first open the app, it offers a weekday and a weeknight option, as well as a button to activate the quiet time manually at the top of the screen. You can modify the times and days for each schedule and filter the calls accepted by adding contacts to your whitelist.

Another useful feature is the emergency alert which allows calls to break through your silent time if the same number calls several times. You choose the number of calls it requires.


It offers the option of sending an automated text to people who try to call or text during those quiet times, but only in the premium version.

You can create more silent times, too. Activate it during your workday and have it end when you go home, or set it to begin at the beginning of church each week.

Do Not Disturb Silent Mode Free


Do Not Disturb-Silent Mode has several more options to customize your silent times even further. It does everything the Nights Keeper app does but adds the following as part of their free version.

  • Adds a calendar option to sync the “Do Not Disturb” app to your calendar and have it automatically start “Do Not Disturb” mode whenever your schedule says “Busy.” No more loud, embarrassing ringtones during an important client meeting.


  • Offers widget to add to your phone’s home screen. This widget will turn the “Do Not Disturb” option on for the amount of time you choose with just a tap.


  • Uses your location finder to activate the “Places” option. “Places” sets Do Not Disturb to turn on only when you are in a specific place. For example, set it for your work address, and it will turn on every day as long as you are at work. If you take a day off, it will not turn on. You only get one place setting with the free version, but if you like it, the premium version allows more.


These three methods of silencing your phone at night and during other significant parts of your day will help you sleep better, be more productive with fewer distractions, and still receive critical calls. There are many additional options for apps out there with varying degrees of customization available, too. Do you use any other apps to keep the noise or distractions out of your life?

Tracey Rosenberger
Tracey Rosenberger

Tracey Rosenberger spent 26 years teaching elementary students, using technology to enhance learning. Now she's excited to share helpful technology with teachers and everyone else who sees tech as intimidating.

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