Sleep experts discovered in recent years that light in the blue range stops melatonin production in the brain, causing the brain to wake up. That worked fine when the blue light (more predominant at dawn) in natural daylight created a natural circadian rhythm – blue light in the morning and during the day wakes us up and keeps us alert by blocking melatonin production. Lower light at night triggers melatonin production causing us to become naturally sleepy.
All that has changed since bright indoor home lighting followed on the heels of the introduction of electricity into our homes a century or so ago. And our exposure to blue light at night increased even more with the introduction of television screens, computer screens and the screens of all sorts of other digital devices. In fact sleep researchers dubbed the blue light that stops melatonin production “Microsoft Blue.”
The insomnia epidemic that plagues us is directly related to our use of digital devices at night. Yet even knowing that, our dependence on digital technology is so strong that most choose to limit sleep instead of limiting their use of our digital toys.
If you are a digital insomniac, help has arrived in the form of an extremely affordable digital application called F.lus. Available for PCs and Macs, as well as other digital devices, F.lux can be programmed to sync with your time zone and to automatically change the color tone of your digital device as the sun begins to set. That way, the warmer color tones emitted by your computer in the evening won’t interfere as much with melatonin production.