The average person in the UK now has five social media accounts. That’s quite a lot of posting, scrolling, browsing and engaging to stay on top of for one individual. So, it’s perhaps not surprising that many of us are using social media not just at all hours of the day but in all sorts of places – and at all hours of the night – too. For example, around a third of people admit to browsing social media while in the bathroom. And most of us end up checking social media accounts while in bed. There is plenty of science that says browsing social pages in the darkness is a very bad idea (see below) – and that’s one of the reasons why Twitter has developed its Night Mode feature, which has now been rolled out both for smart phones and also for the desktop.

Why browsing in the dark is a bad idea

Whether you’re at a desk or in bed, looking at a fully lit screen can have a pretty peculiar impact on your brain. There is an increasing volume of research that indicates that the blue light from a smart phone screen can stop your body from sleeping. In particular, it stops the production of melatonin, which is the chemical that communicates to the human system that it’s time to go to sleep. That’s because the blue light mimics sunlight and so you throw your body into a state of confusion about what time it really is and what you should be doing if you’re staring at a laptop or phone in the darkness. Without the melatonin you could potentially spend the next few hours after your screen time staring wide awake into the night.

Twitter Night Mode is not just for bedtime browsers

Of course there are huge benefits to a darker screen – which is the basis of Night Mode – if you are the kind of person with such FOMO that you can’t leave your phone outside the bedroom. However, that’s not the only advantage of engaging Twitter Night Mode. You might also find it easier on the eyes in general, especially if you’re spending long periods of time on Twitter. It’s also beneficial if you’re in a public space that’s likely to go dark at some point – nighttime flights for example. If the lights go out while you’re browsing Twitter, not only can the person next to you see exactly what you’re doing but you’re also highly likely to be disturbing those around you who actually are trying to sleep.

Switching on Twitter Night Mode

Activating Night Mode on Twitter is pretty simple. Just click on your avatar and select Night Mode from the bottom of the drop down list. When you want to go back to the brighter blue and white screen you just reverse the process – although you might find that you actually prefer the darker colours after a while. Night Mode is not a launch but is being gradually rolled out, which means that not everyone will get it at the same time. However, those who have it already and have been using it for some time say they’re unlikely to ever go back.