Leading sleep experts say that all smartphone manufacturers should include an automatic “bedtime mode” to help users sleep easily at night, Engadget reports. A recent study conducted by Paul Gringras, a professor at Evelina London Children’s Sleep Medicine and King’s College London, analyzed the light emissions of a smartphone, tablet and a backlit e-reader, revealing that while smartphone displays are getting brighter, they’re also getting bluer, which could be damaging our health through lack of rest.
The study highlights that while most people rely on a day/night balance to regulate their sleep patterns, helped by the production of the melatonin as it gets dark, modern displays emit a blue-ish light that suppresses the hormone and gradually makes us more alert. In the first test, volunteers were given orange-tinted glasses that could block out the blue light, while in the second, they used an app that was designed to be used at night and shifted its color palette accordingly, and both proved highly effective. Experts believe a software to apply a “mask” to the device may be a viable solution.
“A faster and more tenable solution would be for manufacturers to ensure that software design is optimized when night-time use is anticipated,” the report says. “All hardware devices allow an automatic “bedtime mode” that shifts blue and green light emissions to yellow and red as well as reduces backlight/light intensity.”
Researchers admit that getting people to remove their smartphones and tablets from the bedroom is a big ask, especially for teenagers and adults who “make their own choices and are often influenced by peer and work pressures.”