Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
What I learned by living without artificial light (bbc.com)
322 points by happy-go-lucky on April 26, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 276 comments

I've done a lot of research on sleep and sleep disorders, and have experimented on myself a few different times. Things I've found that help the most:

Number one, far and away, is arranging my schedule such that I don't have to set an alarm clock. I did this once in college when I was able to get only late classes, and I do it now since I work for myself (although the kids sometimes wake me up). Any time I can go for a week or more without setting any alarm clock, I feel far more refreshed throughout the day.

Number two, no blue light at night. I went a little nuts with this one, not only getting flux, but I work in the dark at night with the brightness on the monitor at the lowest setting with a blue filter, and I also replaced all the night lights in my house with special night lights that run at 1850K (candlelight). I also installed a second light in bathroom with it's own switch and installed an 1850K LED bulb in it so that I could do my nighttime routine in "candlelight". Basically, after the kids are down, there is no source of blue light anywhere in my house.

These two things seem to have made the most difference. I've done other experiments with temperature control, sleeping position, bedroom darkness, etc. They all seem to make some difference as well, but not nearly as much as those first two things.

The longest stretch I've gone as an adult without setting an alarm clock was three years. At first it was great, but after awhile I started sleeping 9-10 hours a night. I didn't notice it was a problem until everywhere I went people started telling me I looked tired, and I noticed that I had perpetual dark circles under my eyes. I think I was oversleeping. When I went back to only letting myself sleep 7-8 hours a night, the dark circles went away and I started having more energy. Of course, this is all completely anecdotal, but it seems to me that there are a number of things about modern life aside from artificial light and alarm clocks that disrupt natural sleep and waking up cues. It's important to have both, waking up cues included, for healthy sleep.

I've also had problem with oversleeping. I had a lenient job and so I'd sleep 10 hours a day. I was groggy and exhausted all the time. About 7 to 7.5 hours makes me feel good.

What is the science behind oversleeping affecting people negativity?

I think one Idea is that people simply dehydrate. Any anecdotal evidence against this? (you who have problems, would you wake up, have a sip of water and continue to sleep, or sleep 10h straight?)

In an effort to save electricity (most charitable interpretation of the law) the US has banned incandescent light bulbs for the standard bulb sizes. The lowest temp LED bulbs one finds in most stores is 2700k (soft white) and, since those cost more than higher temp ones, I bet most people are buying the high temp bulbs. Plus, LEDs don't have anything like a blackbody spectrum like a heated filaments or the sun has. Rather they have bi-modal spectrum with a high blue peak and a lower one[1]. Maybe the lack of low wavelength radiation is also a problem. I wish bulb packaging had to display the spectrum, not just some "temperature" of unknown calculation.

It seems like blue light in the evening is not good for human health. I wonder if banning incandescent bulbs will be seen as a horrible health problem caused by an ill informed government. Similar to the anti-fat campaigns of the past that ended up having people eat much more sugar and hydrogenated oils. At least butter was not banned in that case.

Anyone know where one can buy low temp incandescent (like the regular old ones) bulbs of the standard sizes and watts in the US? Maybe they could be sold as a special "full spectrum" bulb and one could get special permission from a doctor to buy them.


It appears incandescent bulbs have not been banned, but low-efficiency designs have been. [1] I still see incandescent GE Reveal bulbs at the store all the time. [2]

> light bulbs using incandescent lighting technology were not banned by the government. More accurately, save for a few exceptions, any lamp failing to meet the energy standards set by EISA in 2007 could no longer be manufactured.

[1] https://insights.regencylighting.com/was-there-actually-an-i...

[2] https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071VCLT6G/

These low-efficiency designs are low-efficiency because they have a lower temperature. The old ones were around 2400 K while these newer ones are more blue at 3000+ K. This is what I want to avoid for night lighting.

> I wonder if banning incandescent bulbs will be seen as a horrible health problem caused by an ill informed government.

Most health problems are. Obeisity, diabetes certainly. Probably many others can be traced to government guidelines on "healthy" diet.

This is a very careless thing to say. Most health problems are probably due to accident, contagion, sedentary lifestyle, and old age.

> US has banned incandescent light bulbs for the standard bulb sizes

Um, what? They're still all over the place... the supermarket next to my apartment carries incandescent bulbs, as does the city's Home Depot.

You can still get them, labeled as "rugged service" or for other special purpose. They are about 10x the former price. I bought about 100 60-watt bulbs before the ban was imposed.

I just bought bulbs from Home Depot yesterday. Specifically, the chandelier style base. Home Depot had a package of 4 incandescent bulbs for <$5USD[0]. They sold a set of 3 LED bulbs with the same base for just under $7USD[1]. To the average consumer, the LEDs are way too expensive.

I'm not sure I'd agree that incandescent bulbs are 10x the former price. However, you may be thinking of the Edison style bulbs that are trendy now. One of these bulbs does cost as much as the multi-packs[2]. They also have these in LED style for even higher prices.

[0]:https://www.homedepot.com/p/Sylvania-25-Watt-Double-Life-B10... [1]:https://www.homedepot.com/p/EcoSmart-40-Watt-Equivalent-B11-... [2]:https://www.homedepot.com/p/Globe-Electric-60-Watt-Incandesc...

The LEDs you linked are also about twice as bright at 1/5th the power consumption.

Say you have one light bulb running three hours per day (living room, kitchen or office in the evening seems realistic). It uses 20 W more than the LED and using $0.15 per kWh (average rate in California) this gives

20 W* 3h * $0.15/(1000 Wh) * 365 = $3.29 every year

If you regularly use two incandescent bulbs the "more expensive package" paid for itself within a year and gives you brighter light at the same time.

But that involves math. The average consumer isn't looking at that. They just look at the prices in front of them.

I really think the price/wattage comparison thing needs to be the entire packaging design. I overheard a sales person helping a shopper choosing a generator size by adding up the wattage of all of the devices needed including lights. I turned into the conversation to politely suggest using LEDs for lighting because of the lower wattage requirements. Both the sales person and the shopper were shocked at the difference.

Thanks for the info. "Rugged service" or "long life" seem to be the magic words for finding them.

> Plus, LEDs don't have anything like a blackbody spectrum like a heated filaments

What is the physiological mechanism you suspect makes this matter?

I don't see any real way an LED which is metameric with sunlight would be able to make a difference (except possibly for people with some form of color blindness - who could possibly have different metamer "groups")

UK: 'industrial' ruggedised filament lamps are still available in 40w and 60w ratings in UK. Halogen lamps are available as well and look to have a warm spectrum.

So a 2000K bulb or a 2700K LED bulb is not much better than a warmer one? Or they are, but worse than incandescent?

How are halogen bulbs?

Also, leave the booze for special occasions -- no drinking a "nightcap". It makes you feel similar to being tired, but it really lowers the quality of sleep. It seems to interfere with REM particularly, which is really important for actually feeling rested when you wake up.

I’ve been using a sleep tracking app since I got an Apple Watch and the effect of alcohol on my sleep quality has been eye opening.

I knew it was problematic but it is far worse than I ever expected

From what I've read, a single drink is usually good for sleep, 2 or 3 is too much and will do more harm than good. Wikipedia currently agrees with me, but the reference is from 1980, so not sure that's the best available information these days...


Alcohol has the opposite effect on me. One can of beer and I'm fast asleep, to the annoyance of my friends.

It'll make you fall asleep, sure, but have you measured sleep quality?

How can you measure sleep quality ?

I think the iwatch has a function that tracks your movements during sleep and can make some kind of qualitative assessment.

If the watch tells you you’re sleeping bad do you think it makes you feel worse physically? There should be an app that measures your physical reaction to checking the sleep quality app.

It seems to be measuring movement and heart rate

How tired you are the next day, perhaps.

That's what I thought, until I got the app which measures things like sleep quality.

Do you mean that you were you feeling like you were getting a low quality sleep after drinking and then confirmed this with the results of the app

You could take this one step further and just say NO devices or TV at night or after 7pm, period.

I can honestly say it's been game changing for me to do this. I just read paper books now, taken a while to get into the habit but my sleep has improved so dramatically since then.

Also, my phone charger lives in the kitchen, so my phone doesn't come to bed with me, also a dramatic improvement.

What is strange about all this is that fluorescents, while not pleasant to use, don't seem to keep my up like devices do. In that I can have one on for 30 minutes before bed and sleep well. Maybe it's not the light but the stimulation that affects us?

> You could take this one step further and just say NO devices or TV at night or after 7pm, period.

I've done that before and it didn't make any difference for me. If I read a book on a screen or on paper before bed, it doesn't seem to matter, as long as the light is 1850K.

I read on an e-ink Kindle. I wonder what the backlight temperature is? I usually fall asleep while reading, so I guess I don't need to worry about it too much.

Kindles have never been backlit. I think they always use a frontlit screen. Big difference.

Color temperature doesn't matter for frontlit screens?

Front lit reduces eye strain regardless of temperature.

AFAIK, most people are concerned about screen temperature for affect on sleep, not eye strain. At least that's what it is for me. Eye strain isn't a problem.

the older model that i've got definitely uses a blueish led which only becomes white-ish in color when brightness is set to higher levels. don't have technical data.

It's frustrating that you can't turn the backlight off altogether to simulate the pre-backlight Kindle experience.

I have a newer Kindle Paperwhite and you can turn the back-lighting completely off.

It looks that way, but if you're in a dark room you can see the light's still actually on.

I found the same. Eliminating the blue light was all I needed to make a big impact.

So it's not a one size fits all thing, that's ok.

How do you know when to go to bed when idling on a device? There is just endless streams of crud to browse, code to write or whatever. Do you need to have a "bed time" or you just end up feeling tired?

What I've noticed about eliminating (most) device use after 7pm is that I'm actually pretty excited to go to sleep around 9:30-10pm because I just end up feeling tired. When I was browsing, consuming social media etc, I just didn't really know when to stop.

> How do you know when to go to bed when idling on a device?

Mindfulness helped me reining that in: I learned to listen to my bodily feelings instead of half-consciously shunting them because ooooh shiny compulsive refresh. It worked both ways: I realised sometimes I tried too hard going to bed when I wasn't tired enough (if at all) and I just slept a couple hours tops, then couldn't sleep for the remainder of the night, which just sucks when the end of the next day comes.

Along with practicing mindfulness, the biggest change for me was killing all blue light sources. This had the most dramatic effect of all things.

Sometimes I just get tired. When I find myself thinking "hey sleeping in this chair right now would be cool" I force myself to get up and sleep in the bed. Sometimes I fail and end up falling asleep in the chair, which is bad.

But the thing that really helps me is the feature in f.lux that is a reverse alarm clock. Starting at midnight, it pops up an alert saying "you're waking up in eight hours". It does that every 1/2 hour, counting down. So at least every 1/2 hour a get a reminder to at least think about going to bed.

Ohhh. I wasn't aware of this feature as I stopped using f.lux when Microsoft added Night light to Windows 10 a while back. Might have to check it out again.

What about a Kindle?

Another I recommend trying is ensuring any indoor daytime lighting you use is broad spectrum (not just a [edit] cool [/edit] temperature).

Also on this subject, John Ott's books on light are a great read. In the 50s he was doing time-lapse films of plants for Disney and as he noticed his plants growing and blooming differently under different light, became basically obsessed, expanded his experiments to humans and cells and pushed an agenda of light quality that few wanted to hear the rest of his life.

Wouldn't you want a cold (bluer) light temperature for the daytime?

Thanks, corrected

Out of curiosity, I'm wondering which lights (1850K) you are using. The closest thing I could find was this SCS Amber LED


If you are traveling and don't have as much control over the lights, you can get a Zebralight red flood headlamp


The XP-E emitter is pretty old-school tech, but they make great products.

https://www.superbrightleds.com has a couple 1850k bulbs. I haven't tried them so can't vouch for them.

470 lumens: https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/vintage-led-light-b...

250 lumens (and large - G30): https://www.superbrightleds.com/moreinfo/g-series-large/led-...

I use these: https://www.cbyge.com

I picked them up at Target on a super sale. Honestly, all the functionality sucks, but since the only thing I do is set it to 1850K and lowest dim level and then leave it, it doesn't matter that everything else sucks about it.

I also picked up so no name LED multicolor night lights at Costco, but one of the "colors" is a yellow that's really close to 1850K.

Do you think the phillips hue bulbs which go down to 2000 K would be about as effective, or would that rxtra 150 make the difference?

The Hue seem much better reviewed in terms of their controls.

The 2000K is as far as you can set them using the color temperature format, but they can be set to other colors with the xy or hs format.

I often set mine to an almost orange color in the evening.

See the diagram on this page: https://developers.meethue.com/documentation/core-concepts

You can get yourself an incandescent bulb. Nothing better than the sweet spectral distribution of blackbody radiation. And if you're American you can buy a 240V bulb. At 120V the color temperature will be much warmer.

I went the opposite route and started wearing blue blocking glasses 1-hr before I go to sleep. Seemed way easier than trying to address each device and rouge blue LEDs around the house.

Along with melatonin and magnesium (also 1 hour before bed), this has helped my sleep quality greatly.

All our domestic bulbs are 6500K daylight-frequency ( i.e. blue-shifted ) and I have no problems falling alseep even after checking my phone just before lights-out.

I wonder if the blue-light problem is the result of its contrast with warm-white 3000K illumination.

Biologically speaking, blue light performs a very specific function in your circadian rhythm. It's possible that your lights and phone are not bright enough for it to be an issue; the sun is insanely bright. I do kind of doubt that the contrast has anything to do with it though.

There are a lot of feedback loops in your body though, so it's entirely possible that your body produce the protein that triggers the breakdown of melatonin though.

Other theory: you bulbs are blue, but are missing the particular blue that causes meletonin to be broken down by the body.

I have 6500k 92 cri bulbs for most of my lighting and it definitely screws up my sleep cycle if I don't remember to switch to my 3000k area lighting. I have a really flexible schedule so I didn't notice how screwed up my schedule was for a while.

Why "after the kids are down"?? We switch our amber bulbs on about an hour or two before bedtime, so we all (kid included) get used to the dim relaxing light before we turn in. This is part of evening routine for the kid too.

Although it's a different sort of solution, a $5 pair of amber safety goggles is actually all anyone needs to completely kill blue light all evening.

> Why "after the kids are down"?

For practical reasons. My wife doesn't like the yellow lights, and she usually goes to bed around the same time as the kids, or at least retires to the room at that time.

You and the kids could wear amber goggles…

My wife was the same at first and was insensitive to my complaints when she would turn on a bright light late in the evening, but since we were focusing on the kid building good sleep routines and discussed our routines, we built the habit. The other night, I was in the bathroom, up past bed-time, and had some need for bright-clear light, and she actually needed to come in and she turned off the bright light — clearly not liking the feeling. So, in my case, after she got used to the routine, without saying anything, she now just naturally gets how uncomfortable it is to stimulate us with bright lights at night.

I'd say: ask your wife to try a month of not just tolerating but working to appreciate the lighting, for the sake of the kids. Talk about how it feels like doing stories by the campfire, etc. and embrace the feeling it has. If after a month, she wants to go back to the bright lights, you'll accept that. … … unless you have higher-priority tensions in your relationship to work on and can't afford pushing this.

I absolutely hate alarm clocks and have gone years without needing to set one. A trick which my uncle told me in my childhood works wonders for me. He said "think real hard what time you want to wake up in the morning, and say you want to wake up at X, 5 times". The internal body clock has not failed me yet (regardless of whenever I sleep or how tired I am).

I don't even have to say it five times. As long as I go to bed knowing what time I want to get up, I very reliably wake up exactly 10 minutes before that time, as long as I've had at least 6 hours of sleep. The challenge is, if I don't "need" to be up at that time, I'll often roll back over and sleep for several more hours.

Yes, over the years it has become more of a subconcious thing rather than having to say it. Like you, if I know I have to be up at a time, I get up by myself.

I do this too! I tell myself several times, “it’s X right now and I want to wake up at Y”. I’m pretty much always at the “awake but not getting out of bed yet” stage when the alarm goes off.

This exact same mantra was told to me by my father and it is effective af!

What method would you recommend for a sleep schedule reset? I'm currently trying to move my fall asleep time from 4AM to 10PM.

Try taking lowest dose melatonin like 5 hours before your bedtime, in addition to minimizing brightness and color temp of light sources. Don't worry if you wake up in the night for a while; read a paper book.

> Don't worry if you wake up in the night for a while

This is very good advice. I'm sure it varies from person to person, but anecdotally it seems to be completely natural to have a mid-sleep period of wakefulness (for a bathroom trip if nothing else).

If you start worrying that it will lower the overall quality of your sleep, it definitely will. But if you just go with it, lie still, at most read a book, you will get sleepy again in short order and continue your rest. In fact, personally I (paradoxically) seem to feel more rested on the nights that I had a more noticeable/awake mid-sleep hiatus (and without spending extra time asleep).

YMMV, of course; the point is not to let a completely benign occurrence turn into tossing and turning and watching the clock because you're anxious about getting enough sleep.

Set at least 2 alarms and get up. It's going to be rough for a short period, but you will adjust. There is really no trick. If you are so tired that you think you can't function (you can) do some jumping jacks and take a cold shower [1].

I started working at 6:30 this morning, and it's amazing. I watched the sun come up outside the window and I've had almost 3 solid hours of concentration time before the interruptions start.

[1] This all assumes you do not have some medical condition.

So for me, sleep and wake up times don't matter much. But for most people, if you want to optimize for one, don't worry about when you go to bed, worry about when you get up. Your body will naturally get tired at the right time each day based on your activity that day, as long as you avoid blue light and mental stimulation at night.

To get your body set to a wake up time, use an alarm clock for a while. As long as you're good about your nighttime light and stimulation habits, you'll find that after a month or two you don't need the alarm anymore.

If you're already using an alarm, then clean up your nighttime habits and see if that helps.

Note: This is all my opinion on reading a lot about this. I'm not a doctor and this stuff only applies to people with otherwise normal health. If you have a sleep disorder, all bets are off.

I just picked your post at somewhat random to contribute to this discussion, but it seemed like a relevant spot. Also not an advertisement, just an observation.

I've been adjusting my sleep patterns over the last week or two so that I'm getting up earlier (~5am). I started out just using the iOS Alarm Clock, but through the first week or two, it was pretty hit-and-miss. Some mornings I would get up at 5, some mornings I would apparently hit snooze a bunch of times in my groggy fog and not end up getting up until 7. This was happening on a somewhat subconscious level... I wasn't consciously hitting snooze, it was just that by time an alarm actually woke me up enough to realize what time it was, it was closer to 7.

A couple of years ago I had played with Pillow[1], and started trying it out again this week. The feature where it wakes you within a half hour of your set alarm, when it detects that you're in a lighter phase of sleep... It really seems to be helping. I've nailed the 5am wake up all week and have woken up feeling quite refreshed. And like you suggest, my body is adapting and is now starting to make me feel sleepy earlier and I'm just naturally wanting to go bed.

One other thing I've noticed is that I start to feel a bit of a chill around the time I should be going to bed. It's a nice reminder if I actually pay attention to it. No clue if that has a real physiological basis or not, or if it's just some cue my body gives me.

[1] https://neybox.com/pillow/

Good on you for coming over the wake up early dark side...

To steal a common survival phrase - 2 is one, 1 is none. I set multiple alarms anytime I have to get up for something like a flight. Otherwise, I wake up between 6 and 7 naturally. If you're still struggling with feeling refreshed, the fix for that is working out in the morning.

Not very scientific, but Jocko Willink is a huge proponent of getting up early because that discipline sets the tone for the entire day of getting stuff done. I tend agree, but YMMV.

Funny enough, a re-listen of Extreme Ownership is partially the reason that I started getting up early; the discipline feels good, and I'll probably start to add a light workout to it too.

The real reason is more practical though. Working on a side project, and with a partner and animals, it's been hard to get things done in the evenings. She doesn't get up with me when I get up early, so I've got a couple of undisturbed hours to grind on the project. Plus, it feels really damned good to have a feeling of accomplishment every morning before heading to the office; no matter how many useless meetings and stupid shit happens, I've already move the needle on something!

That's great! I don't know if Jocko is for everyone, but for me he's super motivating. I think we all are sometimes guilty of looking for complicated answers to motivation, discipline, and generally things that are hard (I know I am), but more often than not the answer is a simple 'get after it'.

Keep cranking on your side project!

Not OP but my tip is to take a weekend or some other time without obligations and stay up 1-4 hours later each night until you have rotated around to the correct schedule.

The other way is to develop a sleep debt until you can sleep at your desired time, and set an alarm to prevent yourself from oversleeping and falling back in to your normal routine. This will also lose you time out of your normal schedule, and is pretty terrible-feeling to boot, but it doesn't require quite as long.

Sleep physicians or sleep therapists are good about setting this kind of stuff up, if you have reasonable and inexpensive access to medical help.

Pick up an eighth of some top shelf indica, start loading bowls around 8-9pm, and keep loading it until you are asleep. Source: last night. Disclaimer: legalized in CA.

This might sound obvious and you might have tried a lot of these already, but for me what works in similar situation is that if it crosses 4, I skip sleep that day. And having a strict wake-up time works. Of course as the parent comment suggests, the night light played an important role. I have three different lights near my bed, each less intense. Also having dinner early, cold showers before sleep and no exercises at least two hours before.

Decide at what time you would like to wake up. So if you're trying to go to bed at 10, and get 8 hours of sleep, then set your alarm to 6 or 6.30AM (depends on how long it takes you to fall asleep). It's gonna suck for the first few days but eventually you'll be so tired that you'll start going to bed earlier, eventually reaching your goal. There might be more subtle methods, but this is what I do.

This only works if you can actually wake up with a low amount of sleep. I put one of those alarms on my phone where you have to solve maths problems to turn it off. All I've managed to do so far is train myself to do maths in my sleep...

I did the same thing. It got to the point where I had to set it to about 5 snoozes of 3 hard math problems then a final 5 problem set.

It worked for a few months, but eventually I began just hard powering down the phone and falling back asleep for hours.

Needless to say, I have never been successful at any job or school where I wasn't able to work afternoons or nights. I don't even bother applying for jobs that do a typical 9-5.

It has kind of set my life on a strange course.

And it's now almost 7am, I haven't slept, and I will probably end up staying up all day...

Ha, any suggestions on roles other than programming that are good for night-owls?

There are a lot of service jobs for night owls. Pretty much any place that serves customers at night has jobs for night owls.

Cinema projectionist is the classic one (from the film Fight Club!)

Surely this is primarily a question of willpower. Before you go to bed, commit to this action: when the alarm goes off, I will immediately get up. It quickly becomes habit.

When sleep schedule is completely broken, 20mn sport just after wake up in the morning is a good way to fix it. Normally, 10 days of regular schedule with sport in the morning is enough. You can stop sport after if you do not like it.

For some reason I read that and thought you meant watching sport. Do you mean exercise, or specifically competing with others? Seems hard to arrange.

reacweb may not be a native English speaker (they live in France). I'd assume "sport" translates to "exercise". Like running or biking.

Sport has plenty of (somewhat archaic) meanings. "Sporting goods" stores often carry running shoes, bicycles, and weights, all of which are "sport" even if you're doing it by yourself.

I'm a native Brit and I would definitely call running a sport, I wasn't aware that it had a competitive connotation at all.

It wasn't my intention to suggest things like running aren't sports, but on reflection whilst running is often a sport, it can also be just exercise.

I think training, and competition, rules, and some form of winning are elements of all sports.

It wasn't clear to me if they meant competitive physical activity, or not.

Perfectly right. "Le sport" is used for anything exercice related and also includes soccer, hockey, ...

You could try going round the clock, instead of trying to set things earlier, push your fall asleep time later and later until it gets round to 10pm.

What are you doing between 10 and 4?

No electronic devices after 10.

I wanted to do the no blue lights thing but incandescent light bulbs which one can place on a lampshade and which basically act as candlelight are forbidden in Brazil (for being inefficient). You can still buy the yellow fluorescent ones (or the LED ones) but they are absurdly expensive here for some reason (probably tax-related). Economically they still are more efficient if you keep them for 5years+ but it's just ridiculous that you can't get the incandescent ones which used to cost pennies.

> I've done other experiments with temperature control, sleeping position, bedroom darkness, etc.

Have you tried ashwagandha? I've found the effects of ashwagandha to dwarf any environmental changes I've tried.

I'm curious why you do it for you but not for your kids?

Not meaning to answer for jedberg, however, melatonin production declines naturally with age. The truth of the matter is that sleep hygiene (especially management of light) is probably a lot more important for him than his children. Another important factor is also getting bright light early, which is often neglected and may have relevance for depression and more.

Also, not widely known, melatonin is one of the reasons late night eating can be a bad thing: emerging evidence suggests that receptors in pancreatic beta islet cells suppress the production of insulin in response to the release of melatonin.

Here's a great podcast with Dr. Satchin Panda, a circadian biologist from the Salk who was involved in some of the early research elucidating the effects of melanopsin, which is the photopigment that actually synchronizes our internal clock to light. He drops some pretty amazing circadian knowledge...


Mostly because of what dpatrick86 said.

They don't have any trouble sleeping nor being awake when they need to. Also, they are only 3 and almost 1, so they just sleep when they want.

Also, my wife doesn't like the yellow lights, so mostly I can only "shut down" the house after she goes to bed or at least retires to the room for the night.

As the kids get older I'll probably start teaching them about good sleep hygiene if they seem to be tired all the time.

Do you think the outcome of no alarm clock is because you sleep more, or you awake at a more ideal moment in your sleep cycle?

Because I wake up at the optimal time. I've tried many sleep trackers, and although they all have their problems, one thing they agree on is that with no alarm I get up at the optimal time in my sleep cycle.

Cannot find candle 1850K colour temp bulbs anywhere! Found 2000K [0]

[0] https://www.any-lamp.co.uk/philips-classic-ledbulb-e27-a60-7...

I am a big fan of very warm light, but i'm struggling to find LED with a low enough setting here in Europe (at an affordable price). Maybe i should just use real candles :-(

Have a look at LIFX. They allow you to set the light temperature you want. I've replaced almost all lights with their LIFX mini (color) and couldn't be happier.


<2000K seems to raise the prices, 2000K is quite affordable. Dunno if it's low enough...

If you get a yeelight bulb, you can adjust it down to 3000k, which is a deep orange. Although I guess you can set any rgb color, so you can just make it red if you want.

Flux is great, but may I also recommend the extension 'deluminate' it really saves your eyes

Agreed about blue/artificial light v. natural light.

Check out this great REM sleep calculator


Been using that for many years! Any time I have to be up at a certain time (and use an alarm) I use that to make sure I'm getting to bed at the right time.

did you try exercising ? I find when I'm exhausted from exercise I sleep very well.

I don't even have an alarm clock. I let either kids or birds wake me up. Love being a remote tech worker!

Alarm clocks are evil. The working conditions for engineers are pretty dumb in a lot of places. Force engineers to come in by 8-9am in order to have a 'scrum'/paycheck validation meeting. Sit around tired most of the day and then rush to have something for tomorrow so you don't get fired(no reward for doing well, only reprimands if poor updates).

And while this is happening you are signing away all rights to any recurring income or royalties.

> Force engineers to come in by 8-9am in order to have a 'scrum'/paycheck validation meeting.

Ours is at 9:45 so that our colleagues in Dublin don't have to stay at work until 8pm.

> paycheck validation meeting

First time hearing this, and makes total sense. Seen my share of these people, mostly PMs and non-technical managers. And then there are those who send a slew of emails just before 5 PM and go home with a sense of accomplishment...

It's easy to adjust to any sleep cycle over a few months. After a few months living on the other side of the planet you get used to an X hour shift. The trick adjust lighting and habits so going to sleep early enough feels natural.

And people say devs are not grounded in reality - how dare those fat car plutocrats force workers to show up at 9. What is this, the mid to late 90s?

What’s the reality here?

Some sense of “fairness”? Because shop-workers need to work fixed hours, everyone should? You’re hiring developers to build software, not to be office furniture — do the exact hours worked matter very much?

This sounds a bit condescending. Just because it's normal for shops to open early doesn't mean that people who work those jobs are less negatively impacted by alarms and sleep quality. What's the difference between being tired & miserable in a manual labor position and being tired & miserable in an engineering/devops position?

Just because it's normal for shops to open early doesn't mean that people who work those jobs are less negatively impacted by alarms and sleep quality.

I’m not at all implying that they aren’t. However, because shops are open for fixed hours, it’s at least sort-of understandable that employers believe they can get more benefit from people working scheduled hours (which aren’t necessarily “first thing in the morning” — see sibling comment).

Regardless, “people are tired and miserable doing job X” seems like poor justification for making sure that people doing job Y are tired too.

Yes I've heard this line of reasoning before.

It's the crabs in a bucket mentality. A child starving in Africa must mean you aren't hungry.

The truth is the difference is that I'm an engineer. If I was a machine shop worker I'd be on /r/machineshopworkers saying the same thing likely.

The cognitive difficulty of the work, I imagine. For instance, consider the scope of the screwup for getting something wrong because you're tired, ie. affecting thousands of people rather than a few people in the shop.

Yup, it's not like people working manual labor or machine shop labor can kill themselves or others if they're tired. Clearly the fact that we need to think about overengineered microservices written in JavaScript means our lives are just as hard.

For fuck's sake HN we're talking about waking up and going to work. Most of us here are getting paid $100k+ (or twice that in SV) to type for a living. Stop trying to pretend your life is so difficult because you need to set an alarm, be presentable at an office, and work normal hours.

I love this statement (maybe I shouldn't). Being an Army vet transitioning to software, it was difficult for me to understand why people come in late and complain about having to work too early (9:30 being early is quite laughable).

I also understand that you need to be in the right frame of mind to preform optimally, however if the people signing the check want you to come in at 9am then you adapt and overcome (your body will adjust), or find someone else to sign the check. If coming in early to code is the hardest thing you had to do today you're pretty lucky in life.

All you've done here is restate "there are children starving in Africa, so you are not hungry." It's even got a dash of "I'm from Wisconsin, you call this cold?!"

I don't think anybody is arguing that we engineers are not better off than starving children in Africa or soldiers who are forced to potentially suffer permanent harm from bad sleep culture[1], it's just being pointed out that due to the nature of the job, there's usually no reason to come in early, and there are reasons to come in late (health reasons)

[1] https://taskandpurpose.com/military-sleep-problems-research/

A lot of software engineers grew up working late and it's hard to break that habit or it just doesn't feel natural. I have no problems with waking up at 6:30 to make it into the office but if I had the choice I would pick 11 because it fits with my natural preferred schedule I've spent most of my life living.

Unless you have a legitimate medical issue it only takes a few weeks to reset your schedule.

The obvious resolution is that all workers should be able to set their work conditions so that they can do their jobs without sacrificing any bit of their wellbeing.

That would certainly seem like the ideal.

Ah, the old, if you don't like it go somewhere else argument employed by privileged capitalists everywhere.

"People who are worried about the negative conditions at Uber shouldn't drive for Uber! It's not anyone's problem that those conditions are negative. "

Nobody here is talking about sexual harassment, discrimination, or anything of the sort. Nobody is defending those.

But being present for a daily meeting during normal working hours is a pretty low bar to meet. Not everyone can meet that bar! That's fine. Not everyone can do every job. If you have some medical, psychological, socioeconomic, or ideological reason why you can't be present for a meeting from 9:00-9:10 Mon-Fri, it's not a violation of your human rights to suggest maybe you can't do whatever that job is.

I don't care about morning meetings as a bar to meet; I just think they're almost always useless or harmful.

Luckily I now work remotely, set my own hours 100%, and collaborate asynchronously with no daily synchronization points.

I could rush off to an office at the exact same time every morning... but why? It

Being at a 9am meeting is not a sacrifice to any part of anyone's wellbeing.

That’s overly broad and simply false. It can be quite damaging to the wellbeing of people with severe circadian rhythm disorders.

One would think those people would not be applying for work that required you to be in an office before 9am then.

Good luck with that. I had aspirations of being a developer but ended up being a wedding photographer instead due to my circadian rhythm issues. Maybe in major cities you'd have enough options to find something that'd work, but in smaller cities or rural areas there's no hope.

What's your justification for that?

Show me the data that supports your claim.

> Yup, it's not like people working manual labor or machine shop labor can kill themselves or others if they're tired.

If you're going to make a comparison, at least be honest about it. Plenty of software engineers work on mission critical software that can cost lives as well, while not all "shops", whatever you mean by that term, are life-threatening work.

Plenty in an absolute sense, sure. I don't appreciate the implication I was being dishonest, but let's really be honest.

If you pick a random software developer in 2018, they're writing forms over data web apps for a line of business application. It's a fluffy job with no real physical danger. That was my point.

And the same applies to "shop" workers, which can mean anything from retail to machine shops. You seem to have employed a rather narrow interpretation of that term, an interpretation which perhaps is culture-specific, but whose context is not specified in the posts that started this thread.

You know I specifically said "machine shop" in my original comment so I'm not sure why you're talking about retail.

Because no one before you said "machine shop", you're the one who interpreted "shop" in an overly narrow sense and then ranted about it as if that's what everyone was talking about.

100% of those software engineers have a plethora of safety checks that are applied continuously and repeatedly before their work is ever used in an environment where any harm might actually be done to anyone.

Someone operating a backhoe for example might dig into a gas main, swing their boom around and crush or decapitate someone, swing it across power lines and electrocute themselves, etc.

Yes, mission critical software can kill people if it's not done right. That never happens because the developer was tired of a morning.

So, back at ya with that honesty bit.

> 100% of those software engineers have a plethora of safety checks

Well, this is simply not true. I suspect you conjured that figure out of thin air. Case in point, the famous Therac-25 accidents caused by a software bug causing large over-irradiations of cancer patients : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25

Yes, software from 40 years ago is absolutely relevant to this discussion. You think there are a lot of developers using those same practices today?

Bugs happen, but with software you have several layers of safety checks to prevent them from becoming dangerous or fatal. A common one is having the code reviewed by one or more other developers. The odds of all those developers being unable to detect bugs at 9 AM are kind of long, wouldn't you say?

Not really, sad to say. I had a PR approved during the day yesterday by one of the smartest guys I've ever worked with and that passed all tests yet, due to a subtle issue, caused a problem in production this morning. It wasn't the end of any worlds, but this kind of thing happens all the time with complex systems.

I guess as long as those catch 100% of the issues. Even still you're solving the problem on the backend instead of the source.

To be honest, most of us working "cognitively difficult" programming jobs make far less mission-critical things than your average trade shop.

Backend service goes down? Welp, a few million people can't tweet, or view cat photos, or watch videos off YouTube for a bit.

Weld fails? There goes a bridge, or maybe an office tower, airplane engine, power plant, etc.

I honestly don't understand why some people seem to be interpreting "shop" to mean "machine shop". It could also mean retail, so the category is much broader than you imply, and the risks and costs of failure in this broader category are much lower than software that typically affects hundreds to thousands of people, even for lowly software jobs.

Ever deal with drunk people while coding? Shoplifters? Code Adam? Homeless? Been robbed? Screw up those interactions and it's pretty serious. If you can mess up a software delivery in a similar amount of time then your organization isn't doing any type of serious engineering.

I worked in a Kmart one summer and some dummy sprayed oven cleaner in my face. I would have been less upset if he'd shut off access to Twitter for me a day or two.

What about the office manager who'd rather leave at 5?

Before people accept a job somewhere they should find out the required work hours. If that doesn't match their ideal, then they should not accept the job.

Plenty of shops in the big retail park near my house (Edinburgh, UK) don't open until 10am.

Even 10am seems early.

When I have a week day off and see people shopping I always wonder who are all these people? I can't see everyone being off that day, the same day.

Besides people with the day off?

People who are not employed for whatever reason (housewife/househusband, between jobs, on permanent disability, medical leave, retired, on sabbatical, etc.)

People who work second shift

People who work third shift

People who work part time

People on call

Seasonal employees

People who work non-traditional schedules[1]

People who have flextime at work

Students who have late classes or no classes that day

[1] Examples: a friend who worked 12 hour shifts Fri-Sun but had M-Th off; another friend who works 10 hour shifts M-T and Th-Fri with Wed and the weekend off.

I don't disagree with your list but living in a fairly small town of 70,000 it seems odd to see so many people out.

You can add tourists to the list too.

You're right. Let's not be aspirational. Let's shame people for even putting forth the idea that some alternative might lead to more productive workers with higher overall happiness and health. How dare people question convention.

We have core hours from 10-4 but we have to do 8 hours, it works pretty well and I think is fair. Standup is at 10, I usually wake up at 8 or when my alarm clock goes at 8:15 and I'm not unhappy.

My manager allows the devs to come in whenever — we roll in from 9 to 11 and stay til the day’s work is done. Everyone comes in absolutely ready to get shit done.

I run my team's standup at 11 for the same reason. Some folks with stricter routines will still start at 9, others (including myself) start closer to 11.

The downside of this is that the 9am-ers don’t get a solid stretch of focus in the morning. Have you considered an asynchronous status-reporting thing instead?

Isn't part of the point of a proper standup to allow for synchronous interaction?

It's a called Jira, Redmine, etc.

The standup meeting is just a duplicate for ... reasons.

If you stick to that line of reasoning you might come to the conclusion that religious adherence to protocol is counterproductive. Don't let the agile coaches hear you!

By definition I gotta work 8hrs, we have one hour off for lunch, so technically if I started at 11am I would be around til 8pm :(

Are you sure you actually have to work 8 hrs?

I thought I had to work 8 hours, but then I had a problem with my neck/shoulder that caused me to have to do an hour+ of physical therapy exercises at home each morning, and i started coming in to the office later in the morning like around 10 am.

I found that I could still get my work done and do well. I worked 10-5 all last year while taking hour+ lunches and still got promoted and everyone was happy with my output.

Yes, I'm employed full time, work law requires 40hrs a week (afaik this is true for most countries) - right now we have time tracker cards for gate entry so the timesheet is accessible by the employer.

It's not as uncommon as it sounds and I'm in fact fine with it, but by the end of the week I feel quite tired. I quit my current place but there only the employer firm had access to the card timesheet data, which felt wrong to me... it was a stinky company anyway. Too bad I'll miss the guys, the team was pretty good.

You’d be surprised how many places track hours worked.

(Believe it or not, I’ve seen timecards in academia...)

I've never worked anywhere where I could randomly decide if "full time" was 40 hours a week or 30 hours a week.


What the hell does it matter??

If my employer says "you're full time, which means you work 40 hours a week" I can't just say "lol, I'm salaried, I do what I want, fuck you." nor can I say "lol, I get to choose my hours because I'm hourly, I only feel like getting paid for 30 hours a week, fuck you."

That's an extreme form of insubordination and it almost certainly means immediate dismissal.

Do you have to track your time where you work? Where I work we don't do any time tracking, as long as my work gets done everything is all good.

Yes, of course, absolutely, every place I've ever worked. Even when working for home.

I've had five software jobs.

Hmm. None of the major software companies around here track time. I know that it’s common at enterprise software shops where you are billing hours against CLINs and things like that. But it’s definitely not at all common at SaaS companies to track time.

Mine was a pretty big player and we had to track times like crazy (two separate systems and a third opaque one, plus I did one for myself to cover my ass).

But it really depends on the company, I worked in both scenarios. Sometimes I can't broker a better deal or find a better company and again, a good team or an exciting project may make up for dickhead management and their paranoid lack of trust.

I only worked for one company where I billed hours against CLINs, but I still had to track hours everywhere.

("Enterprise" and "charging CLINs" are hardly the same thing)

With a 30 minute commute, you are home at 20:30 and can stay up till 02:00. Same hours of freedom, just on a different time.

If you want to spend time with family that sounds a bit harsh, plus 30 minute commute in a big city is way too optimistic, but of course you're right that free time will not evaporate magically.

same here for flexible start times, except CEO still wants to see you punched in for 8 hrs, so come late stay late.

our core product is not software but mfg'd goods, so likely a carry-over from that mentality.

The best programmers that I have known were owls, with few exceptions.

night owls or just owls. Cuz if they were actual owls that would be awesome.


The worst programmers I know are night owls, with one exception. Birds of a feather flock together...

I'm way smarter at night. I wrote my dissertation between the hours of 10pm and 4am. Thus far, I have been unable to find an employer willing to tap into that.

Interesting comment. I agree with you and yet as a developer I've often observed sales staff with extremely flexible working hours, often expensing quite a bit to the company making base salaries as high or higher than devs while getting huge commissions.

And yet I don't really ever observe devs or others suggesting that the sales staff isn't grounded in reality. I honestly don't think the dev team cares and would fully appreciate a salesman who said he would be able to sell better if he slept in till noon.

Live in the future

Yes I tend to agree, however engineers generally need to arrange a mutually suitable time to, on a daily basis, interact with other engineers. And hence the work day was born.

which 1850k bulbs do you recommend?

Body of story does not match title of story here or the BBC. It's "what I learned kind-of minimising artificial light at night, but not actually complete because I used redshifted apps and a lot of ... Well.. artificial, cold cathode and LED light. And anyway it's darkish outside so anecdote but also S.A.D. is a thing."

I think the story premise is great. The execution leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm trying not to feed the snark. But, really, I think they could have gone harder for a better story. Kids makes it hard.

Yeah, the headline is just a lie.

What I learnt in tying to cut out artificial light at night: Cutting out artificial light at night is fucking hard. Here are the compromises I made and the results I got.

I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail this summer and spent 4 months sleeping outside. My body very quickly adjusted to sleeping when the sun went down and waking up when the sun came up.

Lots of thru-hikers experience a post hike depression, myself included, but I always thought it was mostly about being back in the real world with real responsibilities. Maybe it has to do with light?

I did notice that when I was in a town staying in a hotel I would always stay up much later than I did when I was on the trail.

I recently hiked in the US during 3 months and i had exactly this same feeling. My body quickly adjusted to day/night cycle and experienced this post-hike depression feeling. I'm also wondering if it's related to light because at the end of the hike when I was back to my house i would always stay awake until 3 to 4am during several weeks and it was really hard to recalibrate my sleep cycle.

Right now in San Francisco, Sunset is at 7:56pm and Sunrise is at 6:19am. If I went to sleep a little after the sun went down and a little after the sun came up, that's still at least 10 hours of sleep a day. I'm a little surprised - I've heard that this amount of sleep is actually unhealthy!

4 months on PCT?

Where did you start and end?

Looking to do PCT in a few years. Do you have it documented somewhere?


I started at the Mexican Border and finished at the Canadian border.


Yeah. Found your blog and your Instagram.

Looks like a great trip.

Does anyone know how effective "computer with flux/nightlight/etc" is compared to "no computer at all, write stuff by candlelight on paper"? Is flux/nightlight getting me most of the way (assuming no super blue/white lights in the house), or is it hardly getting me started?

I bet this has been studied but I don't know where to look.

I don't know that, although I once tried hard to google it. What I do know, though, is that for me these orange-tinted blue-light-blocking safety glasses (which I learned about from somebody else on this very forum discussing this exact topic a few years ago) work way better than any screen-modifying software I have tried.


They look a bit silly but if you are just at home, who cares...

(I no longer use them, because in the intervening years I produced three young children, so I am now exhausted at all times and can fall asleep instantly whenever the opportunity presents itself. However, I still do use Night Shift / Night Mode / f.lux / Windows Blue Light Filter on all my phones and computers, because I came to strongly prefer it after getting used to it, even in absence of sleep issues.)

Random tangent, but that last statement about having 3 kids and instantly falling asleep whenever the opportunity presents itself rings really true for me. I had major sleep problems until i had 3 kids. 4 years of 2 new borns + heavy callout. Took about 3 years to recover from that but i'd fall asleep anywhere i sat still long enough. Glad thats all behind me, i hope you're getting some good sleep.

There aren't actually a lot of good studies on comparing different sources of "candlelight". Most studies assume the quality of 1850K light is the same regardless of the source.

My personal anecdote is that it makes no difference to my sleep quality. I've used an 1850K lamp for reading before bed, and I've used my monitor with flux, and it doesn't seem to make a difference.

I find that when I am in rural areas, I sleep like a rock.

I think it has as much to do with sound as light. But certainly good light exposure during the day, a dark, quiet sleeping environment, and a routine schedule make an incredibly significant impact in me (someone who has normally struggled with insomnia)

>I find that when I am in rural areas, I sleep like a rock. >I think it has as much to do with sound as light.

You are an exception I believe (if you normally live in the city), I live in the country and I am used to it (and conversely I have sometimes some issues when sleeping in a city, mainly due to traffic noise, but not only) but when some friends come and stay, often they are disturbed by the thousand little noises of animals, birds, etc., particularly in the early morning in spring when the birds start singing around 5 A.M.

Grew up in the country, and I sleep with earplugs in to boot. City noises punch right through them, amazingly enough, traffic rocks the foundation of my house enough there's no escape.

Planning the purchase of somewhere peaceful and remote as we speak.

I use this https://justgetflux.com/ everywhere and helps lot to sleep even if you get exposed to screens. I am not sure about Kindle before sleep. It has some bright light however it is better than reading book in lamp light. Candles are good but should not be used for long as smoke starts to build up. I would like to know other views.

If smoke is building up from a few candles you have bigger ventilation issues to worry about and fix than light colour or intensity tweaking. CO2 buildup will certainly affect your quality of life (and sleep).

Windows, MacOS, iOS and I believe now Android have it built in, it can help but it’s not that great if you’ll be using your screen till bed time.

White point adjustment doesn’t actually reduces the amount of blue light by that much it’s really due to how LCD screens and their color filters work, some monitors a have built in function to turn on a blue light filter which can also be used in conjunction with white point adjustment e.g Flux which does help it reduce it further.

Which is why I stop all screen use 45min before bed time, more would be too much of a burden for me and less wouldn’t be effective but you should experiment with what works for you.

I also found that watching my OLED TV has considerably smaller effect on me than my computer screens or phone if I use them just before bed. I don’t know if this is due to the nature of the screen since it doesn’t use backlight hence less blue light or is it just due to the fact that the perceived brightness is lower due to the watching distance.

I find that popping on some orange safety glasses an hour before I want to sleep helps much more than flux, partly because you don't have to worry about other sources of blue light, like bulbs: https://www.amazon.com/Uvex-Blocking-Computer-SCT-Orange-S19...

Top rated by Consumer Reports vs other blue light blocking glasses, they block nearly 100% of blue light. You can literally not tell that blue LEDs are on, for example, even when toggling them and off.

Those look awfully uncomfortable, but it's a very interesting idea.

They're actually not bad comfortwise - they're very adjustable, far more so than most glasses.

The problem is what to do if you already have prescription glasses?

Another option by them, which I think is meant to go over glasses: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003OBZ64M/

> White point adjustment doesn’t actually reduces the amount of blue light by that much


After reading the comments I would like to ask about good evidence/the state of knowledge for screen workers

- What about the (energy rich) blue light from monitors? Is it dangerous for eyes, long term?

- If the white point adjustment does not do much, why bother with tools like f.lux at all?

As for myself, I've been using f.lux for years but even when I set it to a higher temperature because I'm watching a video I have no problems at all with sleep. I have not used an alarm clock to wake up in the morning in years. I do occasionally use one to take medicine - a chelator (DMSA) - every 4 hours during the night, but have no trouble getting back to sleep and wake up just as refreshed in the morning as if I had had uninterrupted sleep. The waking up, by the way, is all automatic, I don't need an alarm. My brain even considers whether I'm in a "chelator taking" period (1-2 weeks) or not, the day I start I also start waking up during sleep, to take the capsules, the day I stop I don't wake up any more. The brain is amazing and considers a lot of context, when you let it. Alarm-clock pressure to wake up in the morning IMO is a great obstacle to this self-regulation.

I'm still recovering from heavy metal poisoning (lab test verified), I had lots of nights during the main part of the recovery where I had to sleep in two parts, approximately 0-3 and 6-10. I have found that the first few hours are the worst, but the last 1-2 hours of (natural, not alarm-limited) sleep seem to be of even greater importance for overall sleep quality. There is a HUGE difference between getting those last hours (or this last hour) or not. While I may superficially feel more clear and awake when I don't get them there is a feeling underneath that isn't right.

I also have a late night espresso between 8 and 10 pm (of perfect Italian quality), no difference. And before anyone thinks "caffeine", I drink 3-5 (perfect) Italian style espressos per day. I cannot drink regular coffee or bad espresso. It isn't the caffeine, or my body would be satisfied with any coffee drink. I am not, when I can't get my "perfect espresso" I cannot replace it with "just coffee".

Unfortunately Apples version for flux (night shift) is not available older Macs and only available for very few displays (only the few Apple made themselves and a few of their recommended one).

Apple recommends displays? Ever since they discontinued their own display, I've had a dickens of a time using third party displays. My current display flickers for 30-60 seconds before becoming usable on wake, and I would love to night shift again. Where's the list?

Here is the list:

1. LG UltraFine monitors


Sadly, recommendation notwithstanding, I bought 2 of these 5K monitors for my iMac Pro, but they have the same funky waking problems you describe, and sometimes one doesn't even come on at all, until the machine is rebooted. T_T

(Night Shift does work on them, though. But auto-brightness doesn't, so it's like a soft orange-ish screen in the middle and two BRIGHT AND FIERY ORANGE SCREENS blazing at you at night, unless you manually adjust the brightness...)

This is actually really good. I try not to use any screen after 10pm.

How is it better than reading a book in lamp light? You can just buy a sensible lamp for reading.

Windows 10 now supports flux-like behavior (night light) out of box. I no longer have need to even install flux. Not sure about Apple.

I still use flux since I prefer to filter out some blue light during the day, keeping it around 5500K.

Flux helps just with one part. Relax in evening due to removal of blue light. But second part is, that in morning and during day, you really should see blue/full spectrum and intensive light. Either by going outside, or you can buy some light therapy lamp that provides you with this (when natural light is impossible). I do not think it's good idea to deprive yourself of blue light whole day.

Not to rain on your parade but get a colorimeter and check your screen I’ve used my xrite i1 pro and the amount of blue light doesn’t actually change that much when you switch your white point temperature to warmer settings and especially when it’s as high as 5500K.

MacOS, Windows 10, and Gnome 3 all have a night mode now.

iOS supports it as well - actually there was a controversy when Apple removed f.lux from the app store and then rolled out its own similar feature if I recall correctly.

Orthogonal to your point, but f.lux was never in the App Store because it had to use a private API to pull it off. They did offer it as an Xcode project for a while, IIRC.

It's called Night Shift on OSX and it's also builtin

Some Kobo models have adaptive light, that is, blueish during the day, reddish at night.

It strikes me as imbalanced to do away with artificial light at night, but to then do nothing about artificial darkness during the day: She spent most of the experiment indoors, working in an office.

I think I'm wired up back to front. I sleep very well. My problem is daylight! It drains me and I can't wait for the evening. At night I find it easy to be alert and when I've adopted a nocturnal schedule, I've been happier and more productive. I've just shut the blinds and turned off the lights in the office to get some work done..(!)

Bad research!

> Pre-industrial societies such as the Hadza tribe in Tanzania also seem to have a far lower prevalence of sleep problems, like insomnia. “When we asked members of the Hadza whether they thought their sleep was good, they almost universally said ‘yes, it’s totally fine’. That statistically doesn't match up with what we see in the West,” says David Samson, an anthropologist at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, who has studied them.

This is what they actually found from that Tribe and a second one. They actually got less sleep then people do living with artificial lights.

> The team asked 94 people from these groups to wear Actiwatch-2 devices, which automatically recorded their activity and ambient-light levels. The data revealed that these groups all sleep for nightly blocks of 6.9 and 8.5 hours, and they spend at least 5.7 to 7.1 hours of those soundly asleep. That’s no more than what Westerners who have worn the same watches get; if anything, it’s slightly less. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/10/the-many...

UCLA study - http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/our-ancestors-probably-did...

This was talking about the idea that we naturally sleep a little and wake for a few hours and then go back to sleep as some normal human sleep pattern. The idea is still the same we sleep about the same in modern times. I have had to read a lot of ancient documents and in those documents they talk a lot about bad sleep medicine. If they sleep so well why do we have so many sleep fixes in those documents.

https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-1-4939-2089-... (Just focused on India documents on sleep from 4,000 years ago.

That's a great study on hunter-gather sleep duration that I think helps bust some myths about sleep duration. The quote you are trying to refute though is about sleep quality issues like insomnia, which may still be much lower in hunter-gather groups.

Has anyone here who wears glasses tried prescription blue-light-filtering lenses? I can't really use the orange glasses lots of people recommend in the evenings because they don't fit well over my glasses--even the clip-ons I bought don't sit right. I've read a bit about prescription lenses that filter blue light, but haven't tried it. I'm curious if anyone else has an what their experience was like.

A few years ago, about when I was a sophomore in college, I started wearing glasses with lenses that filter blue light (BluTech lenses in my case). My optometrist recommended them at the time and said they were great for people who sit at computer screens most of the day. For that, they work exceptionally well: they just subtly change the color of everything, meaning you can still see normal colors but with just a slight off-white tint, and seem to be way easier on my eyes. I ended up getting a second pair that goes over my normal contacts because I get headaches after an hour or two of being at the computer without my glasses. I can't work without them.

I haven't really noticed a particular difference when it comes to how they affect or improve my sleep or ability to fall asleep though. The most useful decision I've made to that end is to stop using my computer about an hour before I plan on going to bed. In my case, at least, it's not the blue light that seems to keep me up but how active my brain is close to bedtime. I have to give it time to unwind. I've never noticed my glasses helping with that. Your mileage may vary though.


These work great. I wear glasses and they are very comfortable over them.

Bought a pair and started using them. Thank you for the recommendation!

This was also discussed in a good book about sleep I read a few weeks ago: Why we sleep https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Sleep-Unlocking-Dreams/dp/1501...

Note that there were two aspects mentioned in the article. Reducing exposure to bright/blue light after dark and increasing exposure to bright/blue light in the daytime. The first is relatively easy to do for most people but the second tends to be harder if you work indoors.

You might find this talk by Paul Reading interesting. Paul is a consultant neurologist who specialises in sleep disorders, and who is a past president of the British Sleep Society. Don't let the amateur video editing put you off, the content is so interesting, I attended the talk at two different venues.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXSoqQF93lU (1/2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CCjDUYjnfg (2/2)

Tell me about it. If you live the summer far above the arctic circle, you will soon lose your precious synchronicity. You sleep when there is nothing else to do, 12 hours if needed. Fishermen seem to prefer past midnight hours because the wind is minimal and flying bugs come close to water attracting salmon. And afternoons are best time to sleep, as there might be excess heat and mosquitoes fly high. I find these conditions to be the optimal, and feel quite depressed when the annoying darkness gradually creeps in.

Ha! That about artificial light and screens is a bit ... wanting the blame the artificial. I find that natural sunlight makes sleeping tough business close to the poles.

TL;DR; Article is very long, 4,744 words. Last paragraph is summary: "It’s ridiculously simple. But spending more time outdoors during the daytime and dimming the lights in the evening really could be a recipe for better sleep and health. "

This. I am a person prone to bipolar disorder and it made a huge improvement for me.

You can also add a natural anti-depressant (coffee, red bull) at the morning and depressant (milk, yogurt) at the evening to the mix.

Another advice is to avoid working with Flux / Night Shift at the evenings. This sends conflicting signals to the brain: warm screen light asks for relax but the need to work asks for concentration and focus. This does not go well together.

But you totally can watch an entertaining/scientific YouTube channels with Flux / Night Shift on at the evening. It will gradually drag you to a very good sleep. The good thing it is repeatable, so you can follow this deeply satisfying pattern everyday.

EDIT: Bipolar disorder, not bistable disorder.

What is bistable disorder, if you don't mind my asking? I couldn't find anything about it on google.

My mistake, I wanted to say "bipolar disorder".

Having grown up in a place with constant blackouts, I had too many nights living on candle light. Granted, this was before smartphones...

I just disable the blue light entirely in monitor settings. Setting the colors which include blue(magenta, cyan,blue) to 0 stops that entirely. The only drawback is that colors in images that have blue are replaced by gray/black tones(which isn't a problem for me at all).

Highly recommend A. Roger Ekrich’s At Day’s Close: http://books.wwnorton.com/books/At-Days-Close/

Not only is it a great book on the subject, but the writing is exquisite.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact