We take it for granted, yet it is the source of everything – light.

We are happy and active when the sun shines, but a little bit gloomier and allow ourselves to be lazier in winter, when it doesn’t. We are so influenced by it, yet we hardly even notice it.

It comes as no surprise then that the light emitted by everyday digital devices, like the computer screen I am looking at right now whilst writing this, has a huge effect on us. Especially because for most of us, the last thing we do before we fall asleep is to read up on the news and the first thing we look at in the morning, for the snooze button (in my case).

Most of these devices are bright, almost blue-ish with a usually high colour and designed to imitate sunlight. Bright lights, just like the sun, are signalling your body to be awake, be alert and be active but also signals the body to suppress the sleep facilitating hormone melatonin – which could explain why we feel more active during the summer months.

It is exactly this chemical reaction that causes difficulty falling into a restful sleep and therefore can prevent waking up revitalised and energised.  Your circadian cycle (inner clock) is interrupted, and unknowingly you might just do the same again later that day. Long-term this can cause health issues, mood swings and generally feeling a bit icky.

But fear not, that doesn’t mean you can’t check out Twitter and Co. before you go to bed anymore! A range of apps have been developed to counteract the imitation of the sun, with a similar strategy that we have all experienced before – ambient light. Software like F.lux, Redshift, or Apps G.lux and Twilight are designed to imitate the low lights of sunset, based on your location and surrounding indoor lights.

Depending on your preference it tints your screen slightly with orange, red or brown, which are not only warm colours but also your typical sunset colours. Sunset colours indicate the end of the day and time to wind down, and signals your circadian cycle as being “biological night” which causes the release of melatonin.

If you’re still not convinced, just try it out.

All apps are free and you might just find that you fall asleep a lot sooner, have a deeper sleep, or wake up more rested.

Want to read more on light, light colour and the science behind sleep, check out;

Just Get Flux Research

Electric Light and laptops Causing Loss of Sleep – Irish Examiner

Smartphones ‘designed to disrupt sleep’ – Irish Health.com