“I’m pretty sure that at least many of the sleep disorders we are facing epidemically are related to evening or nighttime light.” – Dieter Kunz, former director of the Sleep Research and Clinical Chronobiology Research Group in Berlin.
To say this plainly, human beings fall asleep because of a chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is designed to work with the cycles of sunlight and moonlight, so melatonin is sensitive to light. Thus, when your eyes see light, more melatonin is produced, which, scientifically, makes it harder to fall asleep.
The kind of light your eyes see is also important, such as yellow light or blue light. Traditional color theory shows us that colors have temperatures that are expressed on a warm-to-cool scale, with reds and yellows being warm and whites and blues being cold.
Blue light produces more melatonin than any other light, and it is also the light that emits from our cell phones.
So, when you are laying in bed at 11 PM scrolling through your Facebook and Instagram feed ‘trying to fall asleep’, you are really only making your problem worse.
For example, the National Institute of Health conducted a study and found that, “exposing healthy subjects to 30 minutes of 500 lux polychromatic blue light an hour before bed, in their natural home environment, delayed the onset of rapid eye movement sleep by 30 minutes.” The blue-light emitting from our cell phones, TV’s, and tablets is delaying our circadian clocks and messing with our hormone production.
What’s even worse is when you wake up in the middle of the night and use your phone to check what time it is (or worse, check your email), you are resetting your melatonin and circadian cycle yet again because of the light you are exposing yourself too, making it harder to fall asleep…again.
It is a vicious cycle.
It is recommended to stay away from backlit technology in general for at least an hour before bedtime, but, unfortunately, in the digital world we live in, that is simply impossible for some.
Luckily, Apple caught on to this problem and sought out an ingenious way to fix it, and it’s called, ‘Night Shift’.
Night Shift automatically shifts the temperature of your iPhone display from its default ‘blue light’ to a ‘yellow light’ from the hours from 10PM to 7AM, so you don’t have to remember to do anything.
Your phone will operate in exactly the same way; the only difference is your screen will have a slightly more yellow hue to it between the hours of 10PM and 7AM.
This may seem trivial reading about it, but once you make the shift, it is amazing the ease your eyes will feel at nighttime, and how you feel before bed.
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