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Night Shift Doesn’t Reduce Melatonin Suppression

Tablets and Smartphones have not been around long enough to measure the long-term effects of these technological advances. However, some studies that have been conducted suggest that one of the potentially negative effects is that artificial light can contain blue light rays, which are linked to a number of issues related to vision and overall health.

What are the problems with blue light absorption?

Blue light can be found in all light sources, both natural and artificial. In small doses, absorption can be harmless, but too much light from hours of screen time can potentially cause a number of health issues, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Sleeplessness
  • Lack of focus
  • Digital Eye strain

What are some tech companies doing to help with this problem?

Night Shift™ mode for Apple®, f.lux® and other Night Mode apps for Android were introduced to reduce the negative side effects of blue light absorption. These can be manually turned on, or set to turn on at a certain time. The concept is that the screen will become a warmer tone, therefore reducing the amount of potentially harmful blue light.

Do they work?

According to most studies, not really. The Lighting Research and Technology Journal conducted a study to understand how much melatonin, the hormone that makes us sleep, was suppressed using personal devices during the evening hours. What they found was:

  • Blue light suppresses melatonin production.
  • The Night Shift Mode, while helpful in reducing screen brightness, only reduced the amount of blue light that suppresses melatonin by a few percentage points.
  • Night Shift is not effective in reducing blue light absorption.

So what can consumers do?

Tablets, artificial lighting and LED-based screens are here to stay, so consumers should know how to protect their vision when using these devices or others like them. Users can:

  • Use Night Shift Mode or similar apps to lessen the brightness of your screen.
  • Invest in BluTech lenses to effectively block a significant amount of blue light at 455 nm, the peak wavelength emitted by LED devices, and are scientifically proven to increase melatonin levels by 96%
  • Avoid screen use 2-3 hours before bedtime.
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