The night mode setting for your screen might be doing you more harm than good. The results of a new animal study are shedding fresh light on how daylight, evening light, and the different settings on our screens meant to help our sleep cycles, might or might not be helping us.
Night mode screen setting on most electronic devices are meant to reduce blue light emission from the screen during the darker hours, to save our eyes from the possible ill-effects of blue light on our sleep quality and eyes. However, the new study found that our body might be adjusting the circadian clock by gauging the intensity of twilight, which is dimmer and bluer as compared to daylight. This means that the sepia-toned light setting which is used to minimise the blue light on our screens might only be confusing our bodies and thus, upsetting our circadian rhythm.
Dr Tim Brown, the corresponding author of this study at the University of Manchester said, “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 the 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. 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.”
The paper has been published in the Current Biology journal and is bound to have implications on the future of lighting and visual display designs which seek to positively affect human health, especially sleep and vision.