A couple of years ago, Scientific American posted an article that discussed how researchers had discovered that the light from our computers, phones and tablets can affect our sleep: Why Is Blue Light before Bedtime Bad for Sleep?
It was found that the light from our devices is rich in short wavelengths and this means light towards the blue end of the spectrum. The problem is that blue light has a bigger effect on the production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin than any other colour of light.
Melatonin makes you sleepy and so there is less of it in your body during the day and more during the night. It is thought that the bright bluish light, such as that during the day, suppresses melatonin production and so keeps you awake and alert.
When the sun sets melatonin production increases and we get sleepy. Except when you use computers, phones and tablets, which continue to expose us to blueish light, reducing melatonin production. This throws off our circadian rhythms - the body’s natural clock.
The solution, which this has been available on phones and tablets for a while now, is to change the colour of the light emitted from computer and device screens. By reducing the amount of blue light and increasing wavelengths towards the red end of the spectrum (like the setting sun), it helps to maintain our natural circadian rhythm and melatonin production.
The result is a better night’s sleep and we are more refreshed when we wake the next morning.
This brings us to a new setting in Windows 10 that reduces the blue light from the computer screen and increases the red. The idea is that this is enabled late in the evening so that if you are still using your computer, it will not keep you awake by blasting you with blue light.
A more reddish glow from your computer screen will help you sleep, which is good for your health.
How to turn on Windows Night light
- Press Windows+I to open the Settings app
- Click System
- Click Display in the sidebar
- Turn on the Night light switch
There are some useful configuration settings and these are accessed by clicking Night light settings.
There is a button to manually turn it on, but the easiest way to use Night light is to turn on the schedule and select Sunset to sunrise. Windows knows what time the sun sets and rises, no matter where in the world you are, so this feature just works.
It might not be such a good idea to choose this option because in the winter it goes dark very early in the evening. It depends where you live in the world, but where I am, it is dark at 5pm on a winter’s evening. I don’t want Night light coming on at 5pm and making me sleepy!
For this reason you might want to choose the Set hours option.
Set a schedule for Windows Night light
This enables you to manually set the time at which it activates and deactivates. It is useful to set it to a couple of hours before you normally go to bed.
Just one final thought tobear in mind. Worrying about work, whether we got enough Facebook likes today, who said what to whome on social media is more likely to keep you awake than blue light.
Relax! Chill out before going to bed.