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Night mode smartphone features don't improve sleep, BYU study claims

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Posted at 3:59 PM, Apr 28, 2021

PROVO, Utah — Despite claims that users will receive a better night's sleep with smartphone night mode features, a new Brigham Young University study claims there is no difference.

Using Night Shift, an Apple iOS feature, the new study from BYU psychology professor Chad Jensen compared the sleep outcomes of 167 individuals between 18 and 24 in the following categories:

  • Those who used their phone at night with the Night Shift function turned on
  • Those who used their phone at night without Night Shift
  • Those who did not use a smartphone before bed at all

According to Jensen, there were no differences across the three groups.

“Night Shift is not superior to using your phone without Night Shift or even using no phone at all,” said Jensen.

After finding minimal differences in sleep outcomes, the study split the groups into those who averaged seven hours of sleep a night, and those who slept less than six hours.

According to the study, the individuals who got closer to the recommended nine hours of sleep "saw a slight difference in sleep quality based on phone usage."

But those that did not use a phone before bed received "superior sleep quality relative to both those with normal phone use and those using Night Shift."

“This suggests that when you are super tired you fall asleep no matter what you did just before bed,” explained Jensen. “The sleep pressure is so high there is really no effect of what happens before bedtime.”

This story was originally published by Jordan Hogan and Jeff Tavss at KSTU.