Light and temperature, are the two most important factors responsible for regulating our sleep cycle. For most of human history, our sleep has been guided by the sunlight. This has been disrupted by the rise of electric light and, more recently, by our constant usage of screens. This has led to a significant deterioration of our sleep quality.
Screens emit a blueish light, in terms of wavelength, similar to the sunlight at noon. Being exposed to this kind of light in the evening confuses our body and reduces the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for triggering sleep. Filter apps, by removing this blue light, turns your screen to a warmer, yellowish color, which reduces the negative impact of screens on sleep quality.
Even then, we would like to add that it’s better to stay away from screens before sleep. While those apps will help you get better sleep, checking social media or messaging your friends will increase brain activity and will keep you awake longer.
Several manufacturers include blue light filters into their devices. Google’s Pixel and Pixel 2 have this feature built-in, and other manufacturers are also including it, such as Honor, Huawei, Asus, OnePlus, Samsung. The blue light filter can be activated by navigating to ‘Settings’ and ‘Display’, depending on the Android version and manufacturer.
A native blue light filter app for iOS version 9.3 or newer (iPhone 5s or iPad 2). The feature, called ‘Night Shift’, can be activated by taping ‘Settings’ in your home screen. In ‘Display & Brightness’, you can activate the blue light filter and change settings. It can be activated daily between sunset and sunrise hours or between a specific set hours.
Windows 10 users don’t need a blue light filter app after the system released a new feature in April 2017 called “Night Light”. It changes the display to reduce the blue light emitted and show warmer colors.
The activation is very simple. Right-click on desktop and “Display settings” will open the window where you can toggle the blue light filter.
On “Night light settings” you can configure the feature. It’s possible to adjust the color temperature and schedule to automatically filter the blue light during set hours or after the sunset and before the sunrise based on your timezone.
Apple added a blue light filter for Mac OS in March 2017 called “Night Shift”, just like for the iPhone. You need to open ‘System Preferences’ and select ‘Displays’, where you’ll find a ‘Night Shift’ tab.
On the same tab, you can choose to activate it between sunset and sunrise or pick specific hours. It’s also possible to change the color temperature to better adjust it to your needs.