Mountain View, Calif. – Google Play Books announced Tuesday the release of a new app feature: Night Light.

According to an official blog post, reading activity increases between 8:00pm and 10:00pm local time, but the bright blue light coming from user’s phones hurts their eyes when they’re in the dark and prevents them from having a restful sleep afterwards.

This is why the Night Light mode comes in handy, as it automatically adapts to the natural light and the color adjustment makes it easier and more pleasant to read. The functionality is available for Android and iOS.

“When turned on, Night Light gradually filters blue light from your screen, replacing it with a warm, amber light as the sun sets. Night Light automatically adapts to the amount of natural sunlight outside based on the time of day, giving you just the right temperature and brightness. The color adjustment is more comfortable on your eyes and greatly improves low-light night reading”, wrote Greg Hartrell, senior product manager for Google Play Books.

Night Light is rolling out to Android and iOS readers now, and turning it on is easy. Credit: Official Android

To turn it on, all users have to do is to get the latest version of Google Play Books on their phones or tablets and, after opening a book, they have to activate the Night Light mode. Users won’t get lost, as they’ll see a pop up in the app asking if they’d like to turn it on. The feature will then always adjust to the exact setting the reader needs for a pleasant reading experience.

Just a few weeks ago Amazon launched “Blue Shade”, functionality similar to Google’s Night Light. It is available for Amazon’s line of Fire tablets and people can turn it on or off with just one tap.

Another related feature is F.lux, which gradually lowers the intensity of blue light coming from the computer screen as the evening unfolds. F.lux is offered for free to Windows, Mac and Linux users. Other tool available on the market to filter the blue light is SleepShield, a feature that works for Samsung Galaxy phones and Apple MacBooks with a cost that varies from $19.95 to $39.95, depending on the device.

What does science say about night reading?

Researchers have found in recent years that the blue light emitted by mobile and PC screens raises alertness and causes a negative impact on the production of melatonin, which is a natural hormone responsible for promoting restful sleep. Since the chemical production activates after dark, being exposed to the blue light at night limits melatonin levels and makes people less likely to have a good rest.

In fact, Professor Paul Gringras of Evelina Children’s Hospital in London says that devices that emit a bright blue light prevent users from falling asleep by an extra hour, which ends up increasing over the time. Doctors remind that sleep deprivation reduces productivity during the day, among other side effects.

About 30 percent of adults reported that they only get six sleep-hours or less every night, according to the National Health Interview Survey. Dr. Breus, known as “sleep doctor”, affirms that blue light filtering can help people to use their devices from 30 to 60 minutes longer than without it. However, he recommends to rest the head on the pillow half an hour after turning off their mobiles.

Source: Digital Trends