Sleep Better without Blue Light on Your Device’s Screens

Those who regularly are unable to easily fall asleep and stay asleep may finally be able to stop their search for the reason.  Current research has shown that those who suffer from difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep tend to spend a large amount of time on their phones before making their way to bed.  It is not the content on the devices or the device itself causing this lack of sleep, but instead the blue light that the device’s screen gives off to the user’s eyes.

Devices that are used before bed such as phones, tablets, and laptops all utilize LED lights in their screens to provide crisp, clear images.  In order to produce these detailed images, the LED lights give off different wavelengths of visible light, which includes a wavelength related to blue lights.  Everyone has a circadian rhythm that regulates their natural sleep pattern based off of environmental cycles like night and day, but the blue light wavelength tricks the brain into thinking that night is day.  This unforeseen consequence shifts the user’s natural sleep patterns off from the environmental pattern and forces them to have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.  Harvard researchers have found that being exposed to 6.5 hours of exposure to blue wavelengths a day can shift the natural circadian rhythm of the user by 3 full hours, forcing the user into poor sleep habits.

While this issue seems completely unavoidable, Apple added their own possible solution by introducing ‘Night Shift’ into iPhones within IOS 9.3.  The night shift option allows the user to take out the blue light from the screen altogether to limit the sleep issues caused by blue light wavelengths in LED screens.  Apple recommends using this option after 10 pm in order to avoid negative effects on the user’s circadian rhythms.  Other installable software like Flux carry out the same process for laptops and desktops, turning off the blue light and hopefully giving heavy users the ability to have a normal sleep





6 thoughts on “Sleep Better without Blue Light on Your Device’s Screens

  1. I’ve already been using apps on my phone and computer that removes blue light, twilight and f.lux respectively and I can attest to how useful they are. These features aren’t new and predate the “Night Shift” on the apple phones but regardless are still beneficial. At night when I have the lights off and I’m using my phone I have noticed that my eyes are not as strained as before I had the applications. It’s noticeable at first but eventually your eyes get accustomed to it as you use it, especially in one sitting. I feel like phones and computers should have this setting as a default though. I feel like there are no costs to having your phone/computer automatically adjust for blue light throughout the day to ease eye stress besides screen darkness. Overall I think that these kinds of apps are super beneficial to everyone who likes to use their devices late at night.

  2. As someone who loves to sleep, I am really fascinated with it and especially how one can use technology to achieve a better night sleep. One thing I have been really in to lately is using wearables that track your sleep cycles by monitoring your heart rate and can wake you up when you are in your lightest sleep phase. I use the Jawbone wearable and because its Bluetooth I can connect it to my phone and have it wake me up anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes earlier than my alarm if I am in my lightest sleep phase. Though I am loosing those couple extra minutes of sleep, the difference in my grogginess (or lack of grogginess) when I wake up is amazing. The Jawbone also has a setting that reminds you when you should start getting ready for bed. As someone who gets distracted easily, this feature keeps me on schedule. The When you wake up, the Jawbone app also shows you a graphic of your sleep from the night before. It shows when you were awake, when you were in REM sleep, and when you were sleeping lightly or deeply. The link below contains an example picture of this display.

  3. The discovery of blue-light having an effect on a person’s poor sleeping habits has been around for a while and its nonetheless difficult to stay off your phone or laptop before bed. When the IOS 9.3 came out I found it very useful that apple had installed a Night Shift feature. The night shift features allows you to chose the start time and end time of the feature which is very useful because most people either forget or disregard the effects of the blue light and use their phone regardless. One thing that could be improved about the IOS update is a list of all the new feature and their explanations. Below are a few links that provide additional information about the blue light.

  4. A lot of the time I have noticed that if I am on my phone late at night I do have trouble falling asleep right away. I think if all the makers of smartphones worked on improving “night shift” systems that would be beneficial to everyone. Even build in features where the phone will automatically go into its night mode unless the user manually tells it not to.
    I think a feature like that would significantly lower phone usage at night, a lot of us say we won’t go on our phones late at night but without help it rarely happens. However, if a feature like that gave people extra encouragement I think that it could make a big difference.

  5. I find this incredibly interesting and helpful. I have consistently read about how blue light is bad for ones health, especially in terms of sleep. As I sometimes have trouble falling asleep I’d like to think its because of this so called “blue light”. I never really thought if there was a simple solution to the problem. Although I don’t have a built in function such as the new IOS devices do, I am now currently looking and reading up on apps for android that can help. I hope that these apps will do the trick and help with some of the eye strain and sleep problems I have encountered!

  6. Wow this is actually something I had never considered. I for one have a lot of trouble falling asleep. I also didn’t fully understand what the “night shift” setting was on my phone. This is definitely something I will take into consideration in the future. Doing a little research I found that looking at blue light may have even more detrimental effects on your health including increased risk of being obese, increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, more likely to suffer from depression, and even increased difficulties learning. When you consider all these things that late night phone use can cause it makes the “night shift” feature an even more welcome sight to IPhone users, pun intended.

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