A new study from a BYU researcher suggests turning your phone onto Night Shift mode doesn’t really help you with sleep.

For the study, BYU psychology professor Chad Jensen and researchers from the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center looked at the sleep outcomes for people who fit into three categories:

  • Participants who used their phone at night with Night Shift.
  • Anyone who used their phones at night without Night Shift.
  • Those in the study who did not use their smartphone before bed.
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The study — which followed 167 adults who are 18 to 24 years old and use their phones daily — asked participants to sleep for eight hours per night. The participants were asked to wear an accelerometer on their wrists.

  • Some people in the study were asked to use their phone before bed and to use an app on their smartphones to monitor how much they used their phones at night.
  • The app measured “duration, sleep quality, wake after sleep onset and the time it took to fall asleep,” according to a BYU news release.

The researchers didn’t find much difference between participants. So they separated everyone into two groups — those who averaged seven hours of sleep and those who got six hours.

Those who got seven hours of sleep saw a difference in sleep quality based on using their phones.

  • “The individuals who did not use a phone before bed experienced superior sleep quality relative to both those with normal phone use and those using Night Shift,” according to the BYU news release on the study.
  • The six-hour group didn’t show any difference, though, which “suggests that when you are super tired you fall asleep no matter what you did just before bed,” said Jensen, the BYU psychology professor. “The sleep pressure is so high there is really no effect of what happens before bedtime.”
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Does dark mode really help?

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However, there’s been plenty of research that suggests “dark mode” can help you fall asleep faster, as the Deseret News previously explained. For example, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has said bright screens can cause strain on your eyes. But dark mode can reduce the strain, making it easier to fall asleep.

  • “When we scroll through our phones before bed, our eyes equate that brightness with sunlight and our brains stop producing the sleep hormone melatonin, which makes it harder to fall asleep. Dark Mode minimizes that blue light and can make it easier to get a good night’s rest,” according to the Deseret News.
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