If you tag year 2019 a year of NIght Mode or Dark Theme, you are right. The technology world tends to exhibit much love to the feature this year. For some years now, on our smartphones, we have been looking for a way of activating a dark theme or the night mode at the system level and this option.

Some Android and iOS devices have some form of Night Light that come with different naming with toggles for, some call it Eye Care, Eye Comfort or a Blue Light toggle for Samsung Phones. Enabling this feature on your phone gives the display a kind of yellow tint that reportedly helps users reduce the time they spend on their phones especially in the evening as they get ready to sleep.

Dark Mode

Night Mode Might Not Be Disrupting Your Sleep After

Well, the University of Manchester has released a study that says the yellow tint is even worse for helping you get to sleep than just using the phone on its default untinted setting.

The study points out the marginal benefit provided by making the average wavelength of the light emitted by your phone’s display longer (i.e., warmer) is probably outweighed by another factor related to the ways your eyes affect your biological clock.

“Twilight is both dimmer and bluer than daylight, they say, and the body clock uses both of those features to determine the appropriate times to be asleep and awake. Current technologies designed to limit our evening exposure to blue light, for example by changing the screen colour on mobile devices, may, therefore, send us mixed messages as the small changes in brightness they produce are accompanied by colours that more resemble day,” the UOM team argues.

The UoM team carried out this research on mice using specially designed lighting that allowed the team to adjust colour without changing brightness proving that blue colours produced weaker effects on the mouse body clock than equally bright yellow colours.

These findings have important implications for the design of lighting and visual displays intended to ensure healthy patterns of sleep and alertness.

“We show the common view that blue light has the strongest effect on the clock is misguided; in fact, the blue colours that are associated with twilight have a weaker effect than white or yellow light of equivalent brightness. There is lots of interest in altering the impact of light on the clock by adjusting the brightness signals detected by melanopsin but current approaches usually do this by changing the ratio of short and long wavelength light; this provides a small difference in brightness at the expense of perceptible changes in colour,” said Dr Tim Brown, from The University of Manchester.

“We argue that this is not the best approach, since the changes in colour may oppose any benefits obtained from reducing the brightness signals detected by melanopsin. Our findings suggest that using dim, cooler, lights in the evening and bright warmer lights in the day may be more beneficial. Research has already provided evidence that aligning our body clocks with our social and work schedules can be good for our health. Using colour appropriately could be a way to help us better achieve that,” he went further.

If you want to get to sleep quickly, just put the phone down.

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