A few weeks ago, Apple released the beta version of iOS 9.3 and announced a feature they named Night Shift. This feature adjusts the screen colors of your iPhone or iPad to a softer and warmer range in the evening and to a normal hard, blueish color during daytime. This is nothing new and it is certainly not invented by Apple. The one tool that got the ball rolling is called f.lux. This project is around since many many years and recently they tried to bring an app onto the iPhone that adjusts the color spectrum of the phone’s screen just as it does on your Mac or PC. This is something that’s definitely not allowed by Apple and they had to get onto the devices by sideloading, around the App Store. Apple told them to stop and cut them off. And a few months later, here comes Apple with their Night Shift feature. And this is probably one of the reasons why so many people are talking about it so much a the moment.
I don’t want to get into the details here, simply because I don’t fully understand what’s going on behind the scenes, let alone explaining it 😉 But: Science suggests and seems to prove that people get better sleep, if their eyes are not exposed to the bright light of computer screens in the evening. If you think about it, this is just natural! You just don’t have to work at night! But that’s not always possible, so go take a look outside and see how the light changes during the day. It’s bright and more on the blue side of the spectrum. In the evening everything is softer and more to the yellow or even orange side. There are parts of your eyes and in your brain that tell your body when it is time to go to sleep based on the type of light you are exposed to. The light gets softer, your body gets prepared for the night and you can hopefully get a good night’s sleep. Now when you are sitting in front of your computer, looking at these bright blue screens the whole night while you’re working late once more, your brain doesn’t tell the rest of your body at 3:45am that you should be sleeping since 5 hours, it keeps being fired up!
And that’s were f.lux and Night Shift come into play. Depending on the time of day, the light of your screen gets adjusted, hoping to make you sleep better at night, when you finally go to bed at 4:30am. And that’s why you should go over to f.lux right now and install it on your computer! If you dare you can install the iOS 9.3 beta on your phone as well, although I would not recommend it. A beta is a beta and supposed to be broken in some ways. I didn’t install a beta since a very long time, but that feature made me do it again. So… go to f.lux and install it at least on your computer! Do it right now! I’m not kidding! Do it! I’m waiting here!
Installed it? Looks weird right? Whenever someone sees the screen of my Mac in the evening, they look at me like I’m some kind of monster from outer space. Nobody understands how anyone could and would want to work like that. And I have to admit: If you are not used to it, it really looks strange. But trust me… it changed my life! I use f.lux since many years and most of the time I even forget that I have it installed. It became natural to me. Whenever there’s something wrong or I have to use a computer that doesn’t have the tool installed, it feels like someone stabs me in the eye with a fork. Honestly, it really hurts to look at a standard screen at night. I didn’t think too much about the broader consequences of running f.lux on my Mac. It just felt better to use it.
A few weeks ago I started working on some private stuff again, which means I get to bed a lot later than I should. At first, I didn’t really recognize something being different from the times I worked late before. But all the discussions about f.lux and Night Shift on the internet since Apple announced it made me think about it a little more. Didn’t I always go to bed with a headache during such times? I lay in bed with pressure on my eyes, my body still fired up, unable to sleep for another 30-40 minutes. I remember the days I got only 4 or 5 hours of sleep and was totally destroyed the day after. It was really hard and I could not stand it anymore after a few days. I was just too tired to do anything at all. But that changed! It really has! When I go to bed now, there is no headache, no pressure on my eyes… I lay down and fall asleep immediately. I feel much better in the morning, without a sign of a bulldozer that ran over me while I tried to fall asleep. I realized that f.lux really made my life a lot better. And now I even get a nicer experience when I catch up on my RSS reading list on my phone at night before I go to sleep.
I can’t tell you often enough to really try these tools out for yourself if you haven’t already. It’s so much more natural after you get used to the different colors on your screen. And it only takes a few minutes to get used to. After that, you’ll never want to go back. You’ll sleep better, you’ll feel better. Trust me… when you use it for a while and than go back to a normal screen, it hurts. It physically hurts. You should really try it!