Night Shift and Dark Mode Don't Help You Sleep Better

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One of the best things we can do for our health is to maintain a predictable routine, and one of the best ways to do that is to practice good sleep hygiene. That term covers a variety of factors, from limiting caffeine and alcohol as you wind down to training your brain to associate your bed with rest, rather than work. There's more to it than popping a melatonin and keeping your laptop out of your bedroom, and technology companies make all kinds of promises about how they can help.

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For instance, many phones and laptops come with a "night shift" or "dark mode" function which limits blue light from your monitor after sundown. The theory goes that blue light keeps your brain artificially alert, which in turn can leave your mind buzzing and rob you of precious Z's. While a warmer tone on your screens might feel better in the dark, it's not actually doing anything for your sleep hygiene, according to new research from Brigham Young University.

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"Night Shift is not superior to using your phone without Night Shift," said lead author Chad Jensen, "or even using no phone at all." So if you're looking for regular sleep so good that it rewires your frayed nerves, resist the temptation to scroll through social media before lights out. Clear out your daily worries and give yourself a pleasant alarm tone to look forward to. Sticking to that schedule is treating yourself better than anything reading on your phone before lights out can offer.

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