Get f.lux to Save Your Sleep
Recorded on February 18th, 2016
[Top is the regular MacBook screen. Bottom is with f.lux turned on. I swear this looks better in person.]
f.lux1 is a free utility that runs in the background on Mac, Windows or Linux to reduce the amount of computer-screen blue light bombarding your eyes during non-daylight hours. The theory is that you want the light temperature of your screen to match the color from the sun as it shifts during the day and into the evening, getting warmer and less and less blue. Doing this is supposed to make your body feel less like it’s supposed to be wide awake during the night, and make for an easier transition to sleep. The best thing would probably be to stay off the computer entirely, but if you’re going to use it, you may as well be nice to your eyes and brain.
There are many more options than this. f.lux can set everything for you automatically based on what time the sun usually sets in your location. You can tweak the times and color temperatures, but I’m still using the recommended colors setting and I love it.
It looks pretty crazy the first time you try it, especially if you see it for the first time late at night when it’s practically orange. But it’s worth sticking with. After a few minutes of trying it the other night, I had completely adjusted to it. I didn’t realize how easy it was on my eyes until I temporarily disabled f.lux for a few seconds, and it felt like someone flashed a fluorescent light in my eyes. I turned it right back on and felt relief.
You wouldn’t want to use this when you’re doing design work or processing photos in Lightroom. For things where the colors and light levels have to be normal, there’s an option to disable f.lux for an hour, until sunrise, or for specific apps. And there are also options for things like Movie Mode where the screen will look a bit more normal.
I buy the research that suggests that you’ll sleep better if you use f.lux. I notice that I feel almost drowsy when I’m using the computer with it on. I don’t think I can go back to not using it at night.
The lowercase “f” in the name drives me crazy. ↩