Study: Night Shift Not Enough to Stop Melatonin Suppression

Blue light has been discovered to be a key contributor to some sleeping problems.  It has been shown to suppress melatonin, the body’s sleep hormone, and disrupt the body’s natural Circadian rhythm.  As technology becomes increasingly omnipresent - thanks to smartphones, tablets, high definition television sets, and LED lighting, our exposure to bright light at night (and the melatonin inhibiting side effects) has increased as well and is an increasingly cause of sleep problems.  In response, the phone and computer companies, like Apple, have started offering “night shift” features on their products to try to mitigate some of the effects of blue light.

However, according to the technology website CNET, this effort is likely not enough to mitigate sleep problems.  An investigation by the Lighting Research Council into the effectiveness of Apple’s new “Night Shift” feature demonstrated that it was not effective in preventing melatonin suppression.  

The Night Shift feature came in two options, “Less Warm” (more blue light) and “More Warm” (less blue light), that changed the color scheme, but not the brightness.  There was very little difference in the results- 12% melatonin suppression on “more warm” vs. 19% melatonin suppression on “less warm.” The study’s main takeaway was that changing screen color alone is insufficient, as blue light is still being emitted from the devices.  

This is no surprise, while the color shift may contribute to warmer colors being shown on the screen, the brightness of the screen itself generates sufficient amounts of blue light to suppress melatonin production.  

If you are looking to get to sleep, try Melatonin Production Factor (MPF) glasses.  These glasses are designed to filter out melatonin suppressing blue light, allowing your body to produce the melatonin it needs to get to sleep.