Device Screens at Night: How to Lower Blue Light on Mac and Windows

While we definitely recommend ditching the phones and all device screens close to bedtime (wind down and relax!) we understand that may not be realistic for many of you. So, how can you safely use your phone or other device at night without the danger of blue light delaying or disrupting your sleep?

The answer: turning our phone and other device screens warmer in color temperature (or completely red to eliminate all blue light) at night to eliminate the blue and green light emitted. 

How to Lower Blue Light on Mac + Windows

You have two options here: using the native settings available in most newer operating systems, or installing an external app like f.lux. 

How to Enable Night Shift (Apple Mac)

  1. Choose Apple menu  > System Settings (or System Preferences).
  2. Click Displays.
  3. Click Night Shift.

From here you can create a custom Night Shift schedule, schedule Night Shift to turn on automatically from sunset to sunrise, or manually turn Night Shift off or on until sunrise or the scheduled time. You can also make the color temperature more or less warm when Night Shift is on. Warmer color temperatures show more yellow and less blue.

How to Enable Night Light (Windows 10 PC +) 

  1. Go to Settings → System → Display 
  2. Toggle “Night Light” On
  3. Set the color temperature for night light when it is enabled at sunset. We recommend sliding all the way to the left (the warmest color temperature option).

How to turn your phone screen warmer (or red)

As of writing this article, only iPhone has a setting to turn the screen completely red. Android users can turn on “night mode” for a warmer color temperature screen from sunset to sunrise. 

Step one: Activate the Red Color Filter 

Newer iPhone Models (iPhone X and above)

  1. Go to Settings → Accessibility → Display and Text Size → Color Filters.
  2. Enable Color Filters by tapping the toggle at the top of the screen.
  3. Select "Color Tint" as the filter type.
  4. Slide the intensity and hue all the way to the right.

Older iPhone Models (iPhone 8 and below)

  1.  Go to Settings → General → Accessibility →  Display Accommodations
  2.  Enable Color Filters by tapping the toggle at the top of the screen.
  3.  Select "Color Tint" as the filter type.
  4.  Slide the intensity and hue all the way to the right.

Step Two: Creating a Triple-Click Shortcut

To streamline the process of switching between a regular screen and a red-tinted screen, you can set up a convenient triple-click shortcut.

Newer iPhone Models (iPhone X and above)

  1.  Go to Settings → Accessibility.
  2.  Scroll to the bottom and select "Accessibility Shortcut."
  3.  Choose the "Color Filters" option from the list.

Older iPhone Models (iPhone 8 and below)

  1. Go to Settings → General → Accessibility.
  2. Scroll to the bottom and select "Accessibility Shortcut."
  3. Choose the "Color Filters" option from the list.

Now, every time you triple-click the right side lock button of your iPhone, it will seamlessly switch between a regular screen and a red-tinted screen, blocking all blue and green light wavelengths and letting you get a better night’s sleep! 

How to enable Night Mode on Android

  1. Go to Settings —> Display —> Toggle switch on for Night Light/Eye Comfort Shield
  2. Tap name to adjust the schedule: sunset to sunrise is a good place to start

Now that that's done, remember Optimal Light "Hygiene" 

☀️ Get plenty of bright white light upon waking and throughout the day.
🌙 Very little / very dim and warm light at night. 

Get sun / bright white light first thing in the morning

Nothing signals better to the body that it's time to wake up than the presence of bright white light.
For the same reason we limit bright light and blue light exposure in the evening, our bodies require it in the morning to promote alertness and wakefulness! Plus, morning sunshine and bright light exposure sets us up for better sleep come nighttime! 
Every morning, make it a habit to step outside for a few minutes and turn on all overhead lights. We love using these R30 Enhanced or R40 Enhanced bulbs (for larger recessed cans). Even if it's an overcast day, time outside will still be optimal for setting your circadian rhythm! For particularly dark mornings, we suggest using a bright light therapy device for 20-30 minutes to help wake up.

No bright or blue light at night 

Turn off all overhead lighting and use only table/floor lamps outfitted with warm light sources. 

This low-wattage B10 bulb and this A19 60W are our favorites. 

Other tips to get the best sleep possible

✓ No food/caffeine: Stop eating at least 2 hours before bedtime
✓ Keep your room dark: Sleep in as dark a room as possible. Minimize or eliminate ambient light from outside the window or any electronics. 
✓ Clear your mind: Any to-dos or straggling thoughts should get out of your head and onto a notepad. 
✓ No devices/stimulation right before bed: Read a book. Journal. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Don't check your email; don't scroll the latest news. If you absolutely must use your phone or other device, at the very least, dim the screen and make sure you have a blue light screen filter on (or, even better, turn your screen red and eliminate all blue light!) 
We hope these tips serve as reminders to take care of yourself and the routines wellness is built upon.
Until next time, be well and well-lit!

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