Quick disclaimer, if you’ve arrived at this article expecting content related to going to bed every night alongside your laptop or tablet, i’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m actually looking to discuss the affect that technology, or more to the point, using technology has on your ability to then switch off at night and go to sleep.
The very simple answer is, it’s detrimental and this is specifically because of the blue light that is emitted from the light sources contained within your laptop, tablet and phone. In recent years, scientists have actually discovered that blue light actually blocks the production of melanin in the body, and melanin is what ensures that our internal body clock works on a 24 hour cycle. If melanin is blocked, our body gets “confused” as to where it is in the 24 hour cycle, hence why you may struggle to sleep at night. I’ve decided to write about this, as sleep is something I really don’t get enough of, so i’ve looked at a few ways in which I can improve this.
Flux is a piece of software that you can get for Windows, Mac and Android. The main premise of flux is to remove the blue light from your screen, which as explained above will stop the blocking of melanin. I’ve started using flux on my Mac and it’s been setup to automatically kick in around 7pm and turn off when i’m up the next day around 8am. This was a great start, but unfortunately it’s utterly meaningless if my other devices are still emitting blue light. Since i’m very Apple based, I need something that also removes it from my tablet and phone.
This was announced yesterday and with it one of the most exciting features of the last few years for me, Night Shift! I should point out at this point, Apple had stopped flux from gaining access to the required utilities to work for iOS and it’s now obvious why. Apple were wanting to do it themselves! As of iOS 9.3, you’ll be able to setup a start and end point as to when the blue-light reducer kicks in. The bad news is, this only works on Apple devices with 64-bit processors, so no support for iPhone 5 and earlier, your 4th generation iPad and earlier or an iPad mini.
The last piece of the puzzle is my television, as yet again, this is a big blue light emitting machine! Drift TV does the exact same as above, but it’s hardware based so that it works on any television set. The downside of this, is it costs, particularly if you’re in the UK! $100 for the device and another $60 in shipping! Hopefully the manufacturers will realise how excessive the shipping cost is, as I imagine they’re pricing themselves out of the UK market. However, for £100, I reckon most people who struggle with sleep won’t see it as a huge investment.
If you’re someone who also struggles with sleep and has any suggestions for devices that could help aid sleep, let us know in the comments!