We have seen studies that say that scrolling through social media on your smartphone before going to bed contributes to poor sleep habits. So we’ve seen things like dark mode for phones and apps and Apple’s night shift adjusting screen colors to warmer tones. This way, the blue light from the phone is not supposed to interrupt your sleep cycle or melatonin secretion. But a new study now says that this night shift function doesn’t really affect or improve your sleep.
TO new Brigham Young University (BYU) study published in Sleep Health is actually challenging this “theory” that things like Night Shift affect our sleep habits. They partnered with researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to conduct a study on the sleep outcomes of several people who participated. They were divided into 3 groups: those who had the night shift on, those who did not, and those who did not use a smartphone before bed.
According to BYU psychology professor Chad Jensen, “there were no differences between the three groups.” So the basic conclusion of this study is that there really is no effect on the quality of your sleep if you use Night Shift or any other equivalent compared to those who did not use it or those who did not use their phones at all. The results indicate that blue light is not the only cause of difficulty falling asleep.
As for this BYU study, they included 167 participants between the ages of 18 and 24 who said they used cell phones on a daily basis (as most of us probably do). They had to spend 8 hours in bed and used an accelerometer to record their activity during sleep. Those who had to use their smartphones also had an application to monitor their phone usage. Things that were measured for the study include total sleep duration, sleep quality, waking up after the onset of sleep, and the time it took to fall asleep.
It is interesting to see how the results of this study will affect our understanding of how blue light does or does not affect our sleeping habits if we use our phone while in bed. Of course, the most ideal situation would be not using any devices while trying to fall asleep, but the reality is that many people still do.