Our love of our smartphones is now getting in the way of our need for sleep. We always knew our relationships with our mobile devices was a bit co-dependent, but now, the situation is becoming physically unhealthy as well. In a recent study, experts noted that the blue light emitted by iPhones and Androids actually disrupts our natural sleep cycles. According to Professor Paul Gringras of Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, the increasingly bluer and brighter light that are coming out of our phones is “likely to cause the most disruption to sleep as it most effectively suppresses melatonin and increases alertness.” As such, the doctor concludes, “there a need for the recognition that at night-time ‘brighter and bluer‘ is not synonymous with ‘better.'”
In fact, says Gringas, so problematic is this sort of light that smartphone manufacturers should consider implementing a “bedtime mode” for their devices, filtering out this disruptive blue light. While the spectrum “is great for use in the day,” Gringas says, it’s “awful for use at night … There is converging data to say if you are in front of one of these devices at night-time it could prevent you falling asleep by an extra hour,” he continued. And those extra hours add up over the course of weeks, months, or even years, leading to sleep deprivation, reduced productivity, and a whole slew of side effects.
Already, software like F.lux is attempting to address the problems posed by blue light. Available for download on your computer, F.lux “makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day.” But phone makers haven’t caught up to the times.
Insisting that it is indeed a responsibility of mobile companies to address that eerie blue glow, Gringas said, “It’s not good enough to say or do less and accept this is the world we live in.” While the doctor notes that smartphones are “fun devices,” he adds, “We do need some protection on what they do at night-time.”
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