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The “night mode” of smartphones and other devices would not be very effective

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For several years, a “night mode” has been available in Microsoft and Apple operating systems. The goal? Adjust colors to reduce shortwave and reduce its negative effects on sleep. However, a recent US study concludes that this does not really improve sleep.

A night mode not so useful?

We have known for some time: blue light from screens affects our eyes. This would be a risk factor for Macular degeneration (AMD), a disease of the retina usually affecting people between the ages of 50 and 60. It also affects the levels of melatonin (sleep hormone) and thus delays falling asleep. In 2016, Apple launched a night mode in its iOS, a great first. This option has since appeared in other operating systems such as Microsoft’s Windows 10. This one allows you to adjust the colors in order to reduce shortwave.

Nevertheless, a study conducted by Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah (United States) and published in the journal Sleep health April 16, 2021 brings bad news: Night mode wouldn’t actually improve sleep.

Credit: Bosland Corp. / Flickr

Blue light not only responsible

Chad Jensen, lead author of the study, collaborated with researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The team performed sleep quality tests on 167 individuals aged 18 to 24 divided into three categories. The first category related to people using their smartphone at night with night mode activated and the second without night mode. The last group was made up of individuals who did not use their smartphones at all when going to bed.

According to the results, there was no noticeable difference in the quality of sleep of the three groups. The researchers then reduce the sample to two groups based on previously recorded sleep times. However, the duration of sleep measured in the two groups was between 7 hours and less than 6 in the group having undergone a slight deterioration in the quality of sleep. In other words, it is a question of a rather insignificant improvement that could be attributed to the use of the famous night mode.

The researchers indicated that in all cases, people not using their smartphones had a much better quality of sleep than the others, but also a longer sleep time. According to the study, blue light is not the only responsible for preventing falling asleep. The other culprit would simply be the activity on the smartphone itself.


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