Think Night Mode Helps You Sleep? Think Again, Say Scientists

night mode
Image Credit: Shiftdelete

The ubiquitous night mode feature on smartphones, often called “Night Shift” or “Night Mode,” promises to improve sleep quality by filtering blue light and reducing eye strain. However, recent research suggests this technology may not be the sleep savior we’ve been hoping for.

Does Smartphone Night Mode Really Help You Sleep Better?

Image Credit: Shiftdelete

Night mode functions by altering the color temperature of the phone’s display. Shifting it towards warmer tones (reds and yellows) and away from cooler blues. The rationale is that blue light exposure in the evening can suppress melatonin production. A hormone crucial for regulating sleep-wake cycles.

A study published in the journal “Sleep Health” by researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) investigated the effectiveness of night mode. Participants were divided into three groups: one using Night Shift for seven nights, another with Night Shift disabled for the same period. And a control group that abstained from phone use altogether before bed. Sleep quality was then monitored and compared across the groups.

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Surprisingly, the study found no significant difference in sleep quality between those using Night Mode, those with it disabled, and those who avoided phones entirely. This result challenges the assumption that night mode alone can significantly improve sleep.

Image Credit: Shiftdelete

Lead researcher Professor Chad Jensen acknowledges the established body of evidence suggesting blue light disrupts sleep patterns. However, the study highlights that phone use likely has a broader impact on sleep than just light emission. The mental and psychological stimulation from engaging with phones. Regardless of screen color, can be equally disruptive to winding down for sleep.

The study’s key takeaway is that achieving optimal sleep hygiene requires more than just relying on phone features like night mode. For better sleep, it’s likely more effective to power down devices completely and avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime. This allows your body to wind down naturally and prepare for sleep.

While night mode may offer some comfort in terms of reducing eye strain, prioritizing screen-free time before bed appears to be the most effective strategy for promoting healthy sleep patterns.

Do you incorporate screen-free time into your bedtime routine? Share your experiences and tips for better sleep in the comments below!

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