Your iPhone’s Night Shift may actually be keeping you awake

Blue light actually signals our brain that it’s night time, because it resembles the colors of twilight, scientists say.

Tim Dowling for The Guardian:

ight mode” is one of those features you may be aware of only because your phone keeps telling you about it. At some point while you are lying in bed at night sending texts, your screen may politely suggest you activate a function that shifts the colours of your screen from the colder to the warmer end of the spectrum. It is supposed to help you sleep better.

Findings in a study led by Dr Tim Brown and published in Current Biology suggest this is the very opposite of correct. The research, carried out on mice, appears to rubbish the notion that blue light disrupts sleep. All things being equal, warm yellow light is worse.

According to the study, brightness levels are more important than colour when it comes to stimulating the body clock. However, when the light is equally dim, blue is more relaxing than yellow.

MacDailyNews Take: A composite of our grandfathers: “I’ve lived through wine being bad, wine being good; eggs being bad, eggs being good; saccharin good, saccharin bad; aspirin good, aspirin bad; fish oil good, fish oil bad… it never ends. There’s always another “study.”


  1. Firstly, last time I checked, I’m not a mouse. Finally, a study is just that, a study. Until a study has peer reviewed and there’s a consensus among different scientists, then the study’s findings become objectively true. Must be a slow day in the newsroom to announce another study that has not yet been peer reviewed.

    1. Let’s pick this apart a little.

      You’re not a mouse, true, but we share so much biology with mice and a host of other mammals that findings in mice usually have implications for humans. There are exceptions to that rule, but it’s a very strong starting point. Indeed, even work done in fruit flies can have implications for more complex animals, including humans. Regardless of your opinions on lab animals, they have contributed immeasurably to our understanding of and progress in medicine.

      You say this is a study that’s not peer-reviewed. A study can give rise to multiple outputs. This particular study does, in fact, already have a peer-reviewed output in Current Biology [].

      But just because something has been peer reviewed doesn’t mean it’s gospel! Consensus doesn’t lead to objective truth: consensus can and has been uprooted by ongoing critique and investigation. Although, it’s rare for consensus on high-level topics to be turned on its head nowadays, consensus often changes at the nitty gritty level like we see here.

      University media departments tend to hype stories. The journal article here has a compelling idea that will need more work. At any rate, the authors are tackling an important real-world issue.

    2. So, he makes the point that this is a study in mice. Indeed, when you read the article, you see that it is a study on genetically-altered mice. There is nothing in the article itself to suggest that one would get the same effect in human subjects. Indeed, the study calls for further research to build the evidence for a more generalized mammalian response.

      The inference that NightShift is bunk was drawn by the writer in The Guardian, not by the researchers.

      This sort of misused “scientific” popularization is why respect for real science is at an all-time low among the general public. Very few folks are going to take the time to work their way back up the chain of citations to read the originals. This is another example of how a misguided Newsweek story about “global cooling” has been used to undercut serious climate science for decades.

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