Why Does Your Screen Light Keep You Awake?
Can you sleep like a baby without giving up the screen before bed?
These days, between working late, checking messages and social media or streaming films and TV, most of us are staring at our screen before bed, or even when we’re in bed.
Tech devices have become ever-present in our lives and whether it’s your laptop, tablet or smartphone, the blue light pouring into your eyes from the screen can have the effect of confusing your body’s natural clock about what time of day it is, and make it difficult to get a good night’s sleep.
For most of our history, sunlight has been the visual cue for humans to wake up and get going, and we respond particularly strongly to blue light. So it’s no surprise that this can leave us lying awake into the small hours and suffering from lack of rest the next day.
Is it possible to keep our screen addiction and get the rest our bodies need?
The trick is changing the colour balance of your screen’s display, using either an app or the device’s settings. Towards the end of the day, a warmer, more yellow/orange hue will help keep your body clock orientated to the evening and prepare you for sleep.
Here are some apps and programs we recommend to keep you sleeping tight.
Apple Night Shift
iPhones, iPads and, more recently, Macs come with a feature called Night Shift, which automatically adjusts the colours of your display to the warmer yellow/orange end of the spectrum as the evening draws in. There are two ways to turn on Night Shift from your iPhone or iPad: either open Control Centre, press the brightness control icon, then tap the sun/moon icon, or go to through Settings to Display and Brightness and you’ll find the Night Shift function there.
By default, Night Shift kicks in at sunset in your location and returns your screen to the original settings at sunrise. Via Settings, it’s also possible to schedule your own chosen time for Night Shift to turn on and to adjust the colour temperature.
On a Mac, you can find Night Shift via the Apple Menu, System Preference and then Displays. Again, the default is for it to run from sunset to sunrise, but you can also set your own times and even use a slider to adjust the hue of the light you get when Night Shift is on.
This is a free app which is available across most devices and operating systems, including iOS, Windows and Android. While Night Shift is either on or off, essentially offering two light-colour settings, Flux offers three phases for daytime, sunset and bedtime. This is designed to include an in-between ‘wind down’ period.
The developers describe Flux as matching the light of the room you’re in and this additional phase as ‘a candle before bed’. It also makes the shifts between these three phases gradually, allowing your eyes to slowly adjust to the warmer light.