I'm definitely a night owl. When other people (and by "other people", I of course mean Mr. M, a lark if ever there was one) have staggered yawning off to bed, I'm usually good for a few more hours of crocheting or blogging (or reading other people's blogs). I love to work on the computer at night, when the house is quiet and I can be alone with my thoughts.
But working on the computer at night is hard on the eyes, and can have negative effects on sleep patterns. Here's a scary fact*: the bright blue light coming from the monitor mimics daylight, and fools the body into staying awake longer by disrupting and delaying the nightly production of melatonin, a hormone crucial for sleep. (I can testify to this - since I started blogging and spending more time online at night, I've also spent more time tossing and turning in bed because my mind wouldn't shut off when the computer did. Normally I sleep like a top.)
Short of returning to an electricity-free lifestyle governed by the rise and fall of the sun, what can we do to minimize the effects of too much light - and the wrong kind of light - from our monitors?
Here's something Mr. M and I are using: a free program called "f.lux" which "makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day." (Quote from the f.lux website.) F.lux works by gradually changing the appearance of your monitor as the evening progresses, to match the appearance of your indoor lighting. On our screen, glaring white becomes softer; warm colours become warmer (and slightly peachier); cool colours are gently muted.
Mr. M downloaded this program to our computers about a month ago, and it's been working really well. My eyes no longer get tired and sore when I use the computer at night; and when I go to bed I fall right to sleep, even if I've just spent hours online.
If you're interested, check out this website: http://stereopsis.com/flux/. The program is completely free, and available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iPhone/iPad. There's also a very helpful FAQ page for those who want to read more about the program before downloading.
P.S. Since this program changes the appearance of screen colours at night, you might want to save your intense Photoshopping for the daylight hours, although there's an option to disable f.lux if necessary for fine colour work.
*(Even scarier is this quote from a New York Times article on how light affects our body clocks: "Some experts believe that any kind of light too late into the evening could have broad health effects," including weight gain and cancer. Yikes! Or as Marigold the Goat would say, Oy! Time to turn off the lights and hit the hay.)
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