For all the benefits of modern-day smartphones, there’s one area in which they certainly don’t help: giving us a good night’s rest.
It isn’t just the distraction or mental stimulation. If you’re prone to have that last quick check of Facebook before dozing off, the light of the phone itself could have a serious impact on your body clock, effectively convincing your brain it needs to stay awake.
But this impact could soon be drastically reduced. An upcoming iPhone and iPad software update – soon available for free to current owners – will be introducing a “Night Shift” mode that will make this screen less likely to keep you awake.
This is great news for everyone – not just Apple product owners. If you use a different brand, it is extremely likely Apple’s competitors will be making this feature a higher priority in the coming months.
“Many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep,” said Apple.
“Night Shift uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location. Then it automatically shifts the colours in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, making it easier on your eyes.
“In the morning, it returns the display to its regular settings. Pleasant dreams.”
It is believed that blue light slows down the production of melatonin (which helps the body feel sleepy). As such, some sleep experts recommend shutting off all screens an hour before bedtime.
Dr Maree Barnes of the Sleep Health Foundation told The New Daily that while this is a step in the right direction, it’s far better to avoid screen stimulation before bedtime.
“The reason you’re staying awake when you’re on Instagram before bed isn’t just the blue light,” she said. “It’s also the intellectual stimulation”.
Do you struggle with sleep? Are you looking forward to this update? Do you believe it will help?