It’s easy for anybody to say that being on your mobile phone, tablet or laptop before bed is a bad idea. We all know that using these devices before bed is making our brains more alert and we’re not giving ourselves enough time to unwind. Our brains react to the light around us, for example on a bright sunny morning you would naturally wake up feeling alert and towards the end of the day after sunset, your body will begin to unwind and prepare to sleep.
Fluorescent bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have taken over lighting, they are more energy efficient and can provide better lighting than incandescent bulbs. They are found in everything from task lighting to televisions to smartphones. But while these bulbs are helpful in many ways, they can also have a negative effect on sleep.
The blue light emitted from our devices penetrates all the way to the retina (the back of the eye). Researchers have shown that too much exposure to blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This can eventually lead to loss of vision and eye strain.
A restless night’s sleep, whether it’s caused by blue led lights or not, can make it harder to stay alert and learn, which has a direct impact on daily tasks. This leaves your brain exhausted, so it can’t perform its duties as well!
The blue lights emitted from devices allows us to view content even on sunny days, which confuses our brains. The light produced mimics the brightness of the sun. This makes the brain temporarily stop producing the hormone melatonin that alerts your body when to sleep.
Due to the reaction from the blue light, our sleep cycles are disrupted, making it harder to have a restful night’s sleep. Because of this, the light from our smartphones can disrupt our sleeping cycle. Unfortunately, this does make it harder to fall and stay asleep. Longterm, this can potentially lead to serious health problems.
Lack of sleep can leave you distracted and impair your memory throughout the next day. Sleep is necessary to consolidate memory so that you can remember information in the future.
Benefits of Night Shift
Night Shift on iPhone and f.lux on Android automatically adjusts the display so that it gives off warmer, less blue light. Night Shift uses the clock automation, plus geolocation to detect sunrise and sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colours of your display to warmer colours. In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings.
Light is just one of the things that affect our sleep. What we do with our phones stimulates the mind, making us more alert, be it scrolling down social media feeds or adding items to your Amazon WishList. That’s where Night Shift comes in. When you enable Blue Light Reduction in the Display & Brightness settings, it moves the colour spectrum from cooler (blue) towards warmer (yellow).
Use Nightshift to help you wind down, but when it’s time for sleep, do yourself a big favour and just put your devices down!
Night Shift is currently available on iPhone 5s and later.
In a time filled with hashtags, television series and smartphones, we are all aching for more sleep. Getting away from distractions can be difficult. However, it’s worth making the effort to either remove some of the harsh blue light or simply not look at your devices at least an hour before bed. Sometimes, making small changes can have a large impact on your sleep.