Apple is debuting a feature that will be included with the new MAC OS X Sierra. It is called Nightshift: the application changes the color temperature of the screen in order to decrease sleeplessness when staring at the screen for a long period of time. The feature will be available on both laptops and mobile devices.
Your body operates its sleep cycle best when it is in sync with its circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is basically the body’s clock which operate on 24 hour intervals, or simply our typical day. What the researchers at Apple found, in conjunction with some research they did with other organizations, is that blue light inhibits sleep patterns.
The first thing we found out was that consumers who were getting affected by this phenomena were generally those who used a Kindle or Amazon Reader for bedtime reading. The product inventors behind these devices were the first to start messing with LED lights.
The findings were that blue light inhibited sleep patterns and that an orange light was much easier on the eyes and did not inhibit sleep patterns. Since most users of laptops lay in bed with them at night, the Nightshift can provide a valuable adjustment to sleep.
Show me the Data according to Apple
So let’s test this out: Does this actually work. One person tried doing this with a fit bit strap and measuring the quality of sleep the night before without the Nightshift; and the next night, utilized the nightshift and compared the two.
While there was not any great difference, the individual did report a slight increase in the quality of sleep when using Nightshift. However, there is a major underpinning to this case that it essential: it is not only the change in the color of light that is a factor, it is the amount of time one stares at a device.
Apple has actually declined to comment on the blue light factor, which is interesting and doesn’t really sway people’s opinions on the usefulness of it. Data shows that the change in light does has a verifiable effect: the eyes do not strain as much or get as blurry when the light shifts to the Nightshift color, which is a dim orange.
The bulk of data behind the study is that the production of melatononin is inhibited or decreased when staring at the device emitting blue light for too long.
The jury is obviously still out on how much of an effect Nightshift will have on sleep patterns. One thing is certain: people are now looking at electronic devices much longer and much closer than before.
One study showed that the rate of nearsightedness over the last two year’s more than doubled, and some are concluding this is directly due to the prevalence of electronic devices.
Obviously, it is up to the audience to see how much of an effect the feature will have. The color change is certainly cool to try out.
I would suggest using some of the Fit elements that Apple offers to get some data and measure your own results. Or just go old school, and shut it down and read a book for the night. Rest easy!