A leading doctor has said that phones, tablets and e-readers should come with a “sleep mode” to improve sleep.
This is after he found that using a device before bed can disrupt sleep – meaning you could be lay awake for an extra hour a night.
Professor Paul Gringras, an expert in children’s sleep, warned that new phones should come with a filter to stop disrupted sleep caused by the light.
Certain wavelengths of light emitted from smart phones can disrupt the production of melatonin – the chemical the body needs to fall asleep.
Professor Gringras claims that new phones contain too much of this light and that manufacturers should be “responsible” in fixing this.
The expert told BBC News: “”That is great for use in the day, but awful for use at night.
“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.”
Prof Gringras conducted a study into how these devices affect our sleep and found that more and more phones are disrupting our sleeping patterns.
He analysed the light being emitted from new devices and found there was a trend for bigger, brighter and bluer lights.
The sleep scientist said that manufacturers should automatically design phones that reduce the amount of sleep-affecting light.
Prof Gringras added: “It’s not good enough to say do less and accept this is the world we live in, they’re fun devices but we do need some protection on what they do at night-time.”
The study was carried out at the University of Surrey and also tested “sleep aware” apps.
These are apps that use a different kind of light so that it doesn’t disrupt nodding off.
And while studies find different results for how much sleep cycles and melatonin production are pushed back or just impaired by bright light, especially blue light — which makes sense, since we all use different devices in different ways — research consistently shows a strong negative effect on melatonin and sleep, especially for teenagers.
So if you can, put the phone away. Your body and brain will be better off for it.