Development of a mobile application (App) to delineate “digital chronotype” and the effects of delayed chronotype by bedtime smartphone use

Yu Hsuan Lin*, Bo Yu Wong, Sheng-Hsuan Lin, Yu Chuan Chiu, Yuan Chien Pan, Yang Han Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The widespread use and deep reach of smartphones motivate the use of mobile applications to continuously monitor the relationship between circadian system, individual sleep patterns, and environmental effects. We selected 61 adults with 14-day data from the “Know Addiction” database. We developed an algorithm to identify the “sleep time” based on the smartphone behaviors. The total daily smartphone use duration and smartphone use duration prior to sleep onset were identified respectively. We applied mediation analysis to investigate the effects of total daily smartphone use on sleep through pre-sleep use (PS). The results showed participants’ averaged pre-sleep episodes within 1 h prior to sleep are 2.58. The duration of three pre-sleep uses (PS1 3) maybe a more representative index for smartphone use before sleep. Both total daily duration and the duration of the last three uses prior to sleep of smartphone use significantly delayed sleep onset, midpoint of sleep and reduced total sleep time. One hour of increased smartphone use daily, delays the circadian rhythm by 3.5 min, and reduced 5.5 min of total sleep time (TST). One hour of increased pre-sleep smartphone use delayed circadian rhythm by 1.7 min, and reduced 39 s of TST. The mediation effects of PS1 3 significantly impacted on these three sleep indicators. PS1 3 accounted for 14.3% of total daily duration, but the proportion mediated of delayed circadian rhythm was 44.0%. We presented “digital chronotype” with an automatic system that can collect high temporal resolution data from naturalistic settings with high ecological validity. Smartphone screen time, mainly mediated by pre-sleep use, delayed the circadian rhythm and reduced the total sleep time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Chronotype
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Digital chronotype
  • Digital footprint
  • Mediation analysis
  • Mobile application (App)


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