Mobile Phones Need ‘Bedtime Mode’ To Protect Sleep, Says Doctor

Smartphones, tablets and e-readers should have a built-in ‘bedtime mode’ to prevent them from disrupting sleep, advises a leading doctor.

The displays on mobile devices use short wavelength blue light that disrupts the body clock and interferes with sleeping patterns, says a study co-authored by a doctor at Evelina Children’s Hospital in London.

“Since this type of light is likely to cause the most disruption to sleep as it most effectively suppresses melatonin and increases alertness, there needs to be the recognition that at night-time “brighter and bluer” is not synonymous with “better,” said Prof Paul Gringras, co-author of the new study.

Sleep hormone Melatonin is produced by the body as darkness falls and helps people go to sleep.

According to the research, new smartphone models have increasingly bigger and brighter screens with higher levels of contrast and blue light.

Speaking to the BBC, Gringras said: “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.”

While some apps have already been produced to reduce blue light emissions from phones at night, Gringras argues that mobile device manufacturers should be responsible for introducing an automatic ‘bedtime mode’.

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