We’re all guilty of a latenight scroll. Lying in bed, with just the glow of your smartphone, getting one last taste of what’s happening on social media before you head offline – all while that stack of books on your bedside table gathers dust.
It’s a nightly ritual but it’s not great sleep hygiene.
Now your phone might actually help you get a good night’s sleep with the latest iPhone i.OS 9.3 update.
Called Night Shift, the new feature adjusts the colour balance of your iPhone and iPad screen after the sun sets. Using geolocation and an internal clock to tell when the sun has gone down, the colours onscreen will move to warmer orange and red tones, rather than brighter tones of white and blue.
Previous studies have shown that exposure to blue LED light can interfere with sleep hormone melatonin and disrupt your body’s circadian rhythms. Harvard research found that blue wavelengths in particular (the kind that’s emitted from your device) are the most disruptive at night. What’s more, the study found that shifts in circadian rhythms increased blood sugar levels and levels of leptin – a hormone that has been linked to obesity.
More than disrupting your midnight rest, blue LED light can also contribute to a foggy head the next morning, one 2014 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences revealed. The study authors found that using devices immediately before bedtime “has biological effects that may perpetuate sleep deficiency and disrupt circadian rhythms, both of which can have adverse impacts on performance, health and safety.”
It’s a smart release from Apple, especially considering the number of us who are glued to our screen when our head hits the pillow. Or better yet, avoiding bright screens at least two hours before bed, and keeping your phone charged outside the bedroom will have a similar effect.