Friday, March 25, 2016 by Sharon Nichols Keith The Night Shift: Is Apple's Newest iPhone Feature the Solution to Insomnia?

Plus, how to set up Night Shift to automatically turn on when the sun goes down.

The Night Shift: Is Apple's Newest iPhone Feature the Solution to Insomnia?

Plus, how to set up Night Shift to automatically turn on when the sun goes down.


Night Shift Leesa Mattress4

Night Shift gradually turns your phone from blue-based colors to warmer tones.


Has Apple just released the technology that will transform us all into happy, delightful, productive and well-rested robots?

At Leesa, we believe sleeping on the right mattress is the quintessential secret to sleeping well. But we know other factors play a part too, and we try to cover those as well. One tip? Keep electronics out of the bedroom.

 Iphone Night Shift Leesa MattressThere’s scientific evidence that blue-tinted light from electronic devices, specifically smartphones, tablets and laptops, mimics sunlight and suppresses the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, tricking our brains into staying awake longer than we should. We’ve even written about the effect of blue lights on sleep on our blog. But Apple may have finally solved the blue-light problem and made iPhones SFB: Safe for Bedrooms – once and for all.

The new feature is called Night Shift, and using it will transform your screen from blue tones to warmer, more sleep-inducing colors. It’s part of the most recent iOS upgrade to version 9.3.


Okay, so it’ll be life-changing. How do I use it?

There are two ways to turn on Night Shift. The first method, the manual mode, works best for people who want to use the feature on-demand – not necessarily every night. If you have drastically fluctuating sleeping schedules on different days of the week, the manual mode of turning on Night Shift is probably for you.

  • Swipe up from the bottom-center of your screen to display the Control Panel.
  • Click on the center icon, which looks like a crescent moon inside a sun.

The second method is for people with more consistent schedules who want to set Night Shift to automatically turn on at a certain time or when the sun goes down. If you choose to turn on Night Shift when the sun sets, your iPhone will cross-reference GPS data from your phone with data about the season and the time of that day’s sunset for your area, so you’ll never have to adjust the time as the seasons change. Alternately, you can set Night Shift to turn on at a set time, such as 9:00 pm, and turn off at a preset time in the morning.

To use either of these settings:

  • Head to SettingsàDisplay & Brightness. Here you can change your phone’s general brightness.
  • If you want to schedule when Night Shift begins and ends or the level of warmth, select “Night Shift.”
  • A new screen will open where you can set a schedule for Night Shift, manually enable it for one night, or adjust the level of warmth that Night Shift applies to your screen.

If you decide you don’t like any of your settings, you can always follow the steps above to go back and adjust them.

 Night Shift Leesa Mattress3

But for real, will Night Shift actually change my life?

While we truly hope Night Shift will be the secret millions of people have been waiting for to help them consistently get high-quality sleep, it probably won’t change your life. It might help you sleep a bit better, especially if you have a habit of reading on your phone in bed, but it probably won’t be a total sleep overhaul.

Business Insider posed this question to sleep specialist Dr. Raj Dasgupta and got a surprising answer. Dr. Dasgupta said his main advice when people can’t sleep is to get out of bed and go do something relaxing, like read a book. But since it’s so easy to read on a smartphone, people are more likely to pull out the electronics than get up to read a book. Consequently, features like Night Shift might make nighttime scrolling even more commonplace.

Dr. Dasgupta’s second observation is that content we access through our smartphones tends to be more brain-stimulating than content we’d read in a book. Think about it: Facebook can bring out a range of feelings from jealousy to sadness if you realize you’ve been left out of an event. (Hello, FOMO.) Reading a friend’s blog post can make you feel empathy. Looking at your bank account balance can make you feel afraid, and reading the latest expose about child labor can make you feel outraged. Plus, these are just types of content you absorb passively – there are also myriad different social media and community websites where you participate in the conversation and receive feedback, not to mention email and texting. Some of these interactions can leave you feeling hurt or elated. Typically, we think of “elated” as a great feeling, but it’s not so useful when you’re trying to fall asleep.

Feeling confused? Here’s the takeaway: Smartphone features like Night Shade are an improvement over reading on your bright blue-lit phone in bed, but the best rule is to leave your smartphone outside the bedroom. Sleep well!


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