Many of us keep our iPhones or iPads nearby when we sleep. Whether it be for last minute social media and email checks before bed, or our alarm for the following morning, our electronic device is usually within reach from our pillow. The blue light that emits from the screen directly into the eyes can’t possibly be good when trying to sleep — and science proves it.
Studies show that the use of these devices before bed increases alertness and disrupts circadian rhythms — our biological or internal clock. This can make our body feel like it's time to be awake and start the day when in reality we are desperately trying to get some shut-eye.
According to Raj Dasgupta, a sleep medicine specialist at the University of Southern California, we react very strongly to sunlight, which before electricity was our natural way of knowing to go to sleep and wake up. As for the blue light that emits from our iPhone screens, our bodies have a particularly strong reaction to this color, which in turn decreases the melatonin hormone which helps us fall asleep.
The blue light is also responsible for eyestrain, according to Andrew Morgenstern, the chair of the American Optometric Association's New Technology Committee.
Fortunately, Apple’s newest update, iOS 9.3, has implemented a new setting in an attempt to combat iPhone-induced sleeplessness, and to relieve eye strain.
With the newest feature, Night Shift, the screen shifts from warm red colors at night to natural blue tones at dawn. Night Shift relies on the device’s clock and geolocation in order to change the colors accordingly.
To activate this feature, click “Settings” and go to “Display & Brightness.” From here, press “Night Shift.” You can either have an automatic color switch by selecting “Sunset to Sunrise,” or you can set the start and end times manually.
Night Shift also allows users to adjust the color temperature from the most warm to least warm in order to achieve the desired hue. Sleep tight with this new feature tonight!
Reviewed April 7, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Read more in Being HER
How to Use Your iPhone to Sleep Better. Refinery29. April 6, 2016.
Does Apple's New Night Shift Mode Really Give You a Better Night's Sleep? The Guardian. April 6, 2016.
Can Apple's Color-Shifting Screen Really Help You Fall Asleep Faster? The Verge. April 6, 2016.
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