Smartphone usage strongly increased in the last decade, especially before bedtime. There is growing evidence that short-wavelength light affects hormonal secretion, thermoregulation, sleep and alertness. Whether blue light filters can attenuate these negative effects is still not clear. Therefore, here, we present preliminary data of 14 male participants (21.93 ± 2.17 years), who spent three nights in the sleep laboratory, reading 90 min either on a smartphone (1) with or (2) without a blue light filter, or (3) on printed material before bedtime. Subjective sleepiness was decreased during reading on a smartphone, but no effects were present on evening objective alertness in a GO/NOGO task. Cortisol was elevated in the morning after reading on the smartphone without a filter, which resulted in a reduced cortisol awakening response. Evening melatonin and nightly vasodilation (i.e., distal-proximal skin temperature gradient) were increased after reading on printed material. Early slow wave sleep/activity and objective alertness in the morning were only reduced after reading without a filter. These results indicate that short-wavelength light affects not only circadian rhythm and evening sleepiness but causes further effects on sleep physiology and alertness in the morning. Using a blue light filter in the evening partially reduces these negative effects
NOTE: This study used the CamNtech Actiwatch 7 which was discontinued in 2012 – Direct replacement is MotionWatch 8.