I’ve been listening to a lot of my favorite podcasters lately talk about Night Shift, a new feature set to roll out with iOS 9.3. While the idea has been around for awhile, this is the first time it’s been available on a large scale to Apple users and as such this is the first time many people have been exposed this type of technology. It’s been amusing to hear people debate the effectiveness of it.
I can tell you from personal experience though that only does Night Shift deliver and do what it says (help you sleep better), it solves what has been a difficult health situation for me for many years.
The summer of my senior year of high school, I had a seizure while standing in line at a McDonald’s. Fortunately my friend was with me and there was a nurse in the line also, so I was rushed to the hospital, given some medication and sent home. A couple months later, I had another one and I was diagnosed with epilepsy.
For me specifically, there are certain triggers I know can lead to a seizure. One of them is not getting enough rest, and the medication I have to take makes me drowsy on top of it. So in order for me to function, I have to get not only enough sleep, but good sleep so my body can physically recover.
As someone who writes about technology for a living, this has proven to be a problem sometimes. Often the only times I would get to sit down and write were late at night after my kids went to bed, but the blue light would keep me awake. I solved this on my Mac by using f.lux, a utility that causes your screen to emit an orangish glow instead of the harsh blue light that causes your body to stop producing melatonin (the checmical that it naturally produces after the sun goes down to help you fall and stay asleep).
f.lux on the Mac has been a game-changer, but I find myself doing more and more on my iOS devices and until Night Shift there hasn’t been a great solution. f.lux has existed on iOS for years and I even used to jailbreak my iPhone in the past just so I could install it, but Jailbreaking has always made me nervous and every time there was a new update Apple would patch the security holes the jailbreaking community would use in order to “unlock” the system level acces to the phone.
So to say I was excited about Night Shift is an understatement.
I’ve been using Night Shift in the public beta, and I absolutely love it. It’s one of those settings that you don’t even have to think about, and you don’t even realize how great it is until you actually turn it off in the middle of the night and you feel like your eyes are getting stabbed by the blue light that until recently you had become accustomed to.
If you want more info on the feature itself, check out the iOS preview page. If you want more info on the science behind why this is a good idea, check out the research section on the f.lux site and download the desktop version if you haven’t done so already.