Apple’s Night Shift feature, which says it helps you get a better night’s sleep, appears to be falling short of its claim, according to To search new.
And given that exposure to blue light affects the regulation of sleep cycles, the hope is that Night Shift, which filters blue light from screens after sunset, will make it easier to fall asleep.
And according to a new study, sleep is more complex than that, and the feature likely doesn’t do much to help you on nights you don’t sleep.
The study tracked the sleep of 167 young people for a week, and the subjects were divided into three groups:
- A group used their phones an hour before bed with Night Shift turned on.
- A group used their phones for an hour before bed with Night Shift not turned on.
- A group who did not use their phones before bed.
The study lead author said: There were no differences between the three groups, and the results of the group that used the Night Shift feature are not better than the results of the group that did not use the feature or the group that did not use the phone.
The results of Night Shift are in line with early doubts about how much it might help with insomnia, especially since Apple does not specify which wavelengths of light are shielded.
Although blue light and phone use are likely to contribute to difficulty sleeping, there are many other variables that must be considered within the complexities of sleep.
The researchers were somewhat surprised that even the group that didn’t use the phone before bed didn’t necessarily sleep better, on average.
“Our hypothesis was that we see better sleep without using the phone across the full sample, so it was a bit surprising that we did not find that,” said the lead author of the study.
Part of this finding is likely due to the fact that most of the participants were college students and, according to the researchers, were sleep-deprived.
And when people feel very sleepy, it does not matter whether they use their phones before bed, because your need for sleep is so high at that stage that you fall asleep easily regardless of what you do before bed.
The amount of sleep the participants got was one of the few phone-related differences that the study observed.
Among the people in the study who slept more than the average bedtime of around seven hours, those who did not use the phone slept better and weren’t waking as often during the night compared to those who used their phones.
But people who slept below average did not show any difference in any measures of sleep quality, regardless of whether or not they use the phone at bedtime.
There are quite a number of factors that can affect your sleep after using your phone, such as: caffeine, exercise, room temperature, amount of light, amount of noise, consistency of sleep schedules and bedtime routine.
And when it comes to phones, there are things to consider besides exposure to blue light, as all other forms of stimulation not associated with light are equally important.
And if you’re reading a depressing article or laughing at a bedtime video, it’s possible that this level of alertness and engagement hinders your ability to fall asleep, and Apple’s Night Shift won’t compensate for that effect.
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