Apple recently unveiled a new feature called Night Shift designed to prevent the pesky blue backlight on its iPhones and iPads from meddling with people’s night sleep. The company rolled out the new setting with its latest version of iOS.
Past studies had shown that the blue backlight emitted by electronic devices can wreak havoc with people’s sleep patterns if they use the gadgets before falling asleep. But Apple’s Night Shift promises to fix the problem.
According to the company, the new feature alters the color temperature of its devices’ screens to a warmer end on the color spectrum. Researchers have cautioned for years that too much blue light can disrupt the bodily production of melatonin, a sleep hormone that tells the brain that it is time for some shut-eye.
Though the feature is similar to an Instagram filter, you can still read from the screen. Google also announced a similar setting for its incoming version of Android.
On the other hand, sleep experts are not convinced. They say that a plethora of studies had revealed that the backlight of displays can both prevent people from falling asleep and have the recommended sleep time. Sleep deprivation has also been linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and depression.
Though, sleep deprivation experts haven’t yet tested first-hand the new feature, they said that they made some estimates. Dr. Mariana Figueiro of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, explained that the idea behind Night Sleep was ‘good’ but changing color was not a quick fix.
She said that the feature needs to adjust intensity, as well, not just color. Yet, she added that the new settings are better than nothing. She recommends users to lower their screen brightness too. Plus, it is best to read in bed after shifting screen polarity, i.e. the text should be white against a dark background.
All in all, it is best to minimize the amount of backlight that reaches the eye if you don’t want to disturb your body’s melatonin production. But the healthiest solution would be to opt for a paper book or magazine, experts said, and use a smartphone or tablet only if you really must.
Apple doesn’t promises either that the new setting would fix your sleep. It said that Nigh Shift ‘may help’ with your night sleep. So, some experts have argued that a feature that would lock the iPhone until morning would have been a far better idea.
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