Professor of sleep medicine: phones need automated 'bed mode' to protect our sleep


Smartphones need a built-in automatic 'bedtime mode' that would prevent them from disrupting people's sleep, according to Paul Gringras, Professor of children's sleep medicine and neurodisability, who was a part of an extensive study on the effect of night use of phones and tablets (see the source link at the bottom). Professor Gringras has worked in the field of children's neurodisability and sleep medicine for over 15 years, combining clinical and research work.

The doctor says that every new model has a 'bluer and brighter' screen, and exposure to this blue light at night is scientifically proven to throw off our natural body clock and keep us awake at night.

This really is nothing new: there is a number of third-party apps on Android that reduce the color temperature of a screen from the typical bluish white to a much more tolerable at night reddish cast. Google has also introduced a somewhat helpful 'Night mode' in Android 6.0 Marhsmallow that turns backgrounds dark rather than white, but it does not filter out the blue light that causes sleep problems. 

Eliminating the blues from a screen at night is a huge help for our body that produces the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin production helps you doze off timely, but exposure to certain wavelengths of light in the blue-green spectrum, prevent the system from functioning.

Professor Gringras says that phone makers should show more 'responsibility' to protect people's sleep.

"That (brighter and slightly more bluish displays) is great for use in the day, but 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."

It's something that we whole-heartedly agree with: we all love our phones, but nobody wants to lose sleep over a gadget. The problem with third-party apps like Twilight (Google Play store link) is that they reach far less people, are often incompatible with certain phones, and do not enjoy low-level access to the system that would make them more efficient.

It's also a shame that Apple does not support any such apps and iPhone users are particularly prone to losing sleep if they text or just use their phone at night.

"It's not good enough to say do less and accept this is the world we live in, they're fun devices but we do need some protection on what they do at night-time," Gringras said. Let's keep our fingers crossed that manufacturers will listen sooner rather than later.

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11 Comments

1. carlemillward unregistered

I use Opera Mini, I switch to Night Mode and decrease brightness as well as enabling a yellow tint. I find it strange that this is not baked into the OS itself.

3. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Same here... For everything that doesn't require flash or add-ons, I use opera mini. But that yellow tint is too yellow...i mean a little lighter would be good anyway.

5. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, I just got a Z5c which has red night mode built in all no longer need to use specific apps.

8. carlemillward unregistered

True, and I thought it was just me nitpicking about the yellow color.

2. SirTomoti

Posts: 5; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

LOL..

4. avishekmukherjee

Posts: 362; Member since: Apr 09, 2015

Same here 2

6. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I used Twilight on my phone because the minimum brightness was pitifully bright. It also gradually adjusts the color temperature to the red shade of your choosing, starting 90 minutes before bedtime. Nice app, and invaluable for the middle of the night when you have a baby to rock back to sleep.

7. vananucho

Posts: 83; Member since: Jun 01, 2011

My Redmi Note 2 has reading and night modes, and the possibility to dim way lower than other phones I've had in the past, like the Droid Ultra and the Galaxy S5. I have chugged like 4 ebooks Before sleeping hours in this phone since I have it, and I can still sleep like a baby.

9. zcubed

Posts: 6; Member since: Oct 16, 2015

Android has had CF.Lumen, Twilight, and Lux for awhile. I use F.lux for all my PCs as well. My CM 12.1 rom on my galaxy S4 has a built in 'LiveDisplay' mode that changes the display temp from 6500K to 4500k at night based on your sunset/sunrise cycles using GPS.

10. flipjzn

Posts: 257; Member since: Jun 22, 2012

I use f.lux on iPhone.

11. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

red tints, eh? I think maybe the Virtual Boy is just what the doctor ordered, lol.

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