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This new feature makes your iPhone more sleep-friendly


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Photo: Tim Stief via Unsplash

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Signs your iPhone is your best friend: It’s by your side at all times; the second you think you’ve lost it you panic; you even hold it close like a teddy bear before you fall asleep. And there’s absolutely nothing that’s going to make you change those habits, right? Even if you knew that checking your phone too much can make you sleep worse? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Thankfully, Apple has made an update to its software that will help you (and your phone) rest easier.

In the new iOS 9.3 update there’s something called Night Shift. It’s a button you can press on your command center that changes the background light on your phone at night. All you have to do is turn it on and the software “uses your iOS device’s clock and geolocation to determine when it’s sunset in your location, then it automatically shifts the colors in your display to the warmer end of the spectrum,” according to Apple. In the morning when you wake up, your phone will go back to its normal lighting. Here’s an Instagram video demonstrating how to do it:

Video: Kelly LeVeque via Instagram

The company decided to make this change after noting that “many studies have shown that exposure to bright blue light in the evening can affect your circadian rhythms and make it harder to fall asleep.” It’s true: The blue light that emanates from your iPhone has been proven to suppress the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. “Melatonin starts to flow around 9 or 10 o’clock, and bright light will shut that down,” says Joyce Walsleben, an adjunct associate professor of medicine at NYU School of Medicine. “The shorter wavelength of blue light has been found to be the most alerting to the brain,” adds Phyllis C. Zee, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University in Chicago. That’s why many experts suggest that you ditch all digital devices that emit light an hour before you go to bed. But who are they kidding? So kudos to Apple for making it much easier for us to fall asleep without having to resist checking every single Snapchat story.

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