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Sleeping with Your Gadgets On (42floors.com)
41 points by malomalo on Jan 14, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 46 comments

How to block all blue light from your devices

I can't help but think 'turn them off' is the most obvious answer here. The author seems to think he needs the iPad/laptop to fall asleep. Well, that's simply being untruthful to yourself. It's just a habit, and with some correct training (and eventually even seeing a psychologist) he can replace it with another, probably healthier, habit. Like reading a book or meditation.

He explained that the only method that got his brain disengaged was to watch TV series re-runs. Reading kept him engaged. He couldn't cope with reading boring things (in my case, I'd just give up on the boring material, lay it aside and then lay in bed for hours trying to get to sleep...)

So, you turn on the TV in the bedroom and annoy your sleeping partner - no, this won't do. So you go to another room to watch and fall asleep elsewhere and relationship issues ensue with your sleeping partner. Nope, not gonna cut it.

Tablet, dimmed, in bed, with re-runs ... and it works for this guy.

He tried removing it entirely, he mentioned reading in the post. Why isn't it ok that he found a way to get to sleep easier with his devices?

Because in my opinion (solely based on intuition and vague memories of things read in scientific articles on the matter), as a solution for sleep problems, it's still inferior to just turning them off.

I know he mentions books in the articles but put them away because they either were either too exciting or too boring. To me that sounds like not having tried hard enough. As I said: replacing such nightly habit with another one isn't easy.

As someone who suffers from the same kinds of sleep issues he does (especially his point about letting his brain unwind with old TV shows), I think it's much more important to find something that works without you having to fight hard for it (at least at first, maybe if now he starts slowly replacing some of his devices with books, etc. he'll have more success).

I've found success with a formula much more like yours (no blue light for an hour before bed unless absolutely necessary). I understand what he means about books being too exciting or boring too. What I've done is what he does with TV: I reread books (I also lean towards very simple to read books). Just this year I've done Liar's Poker, Moneyball, The Hobbit, and am working my way through the original Bourne series.

I'm not sure I get why reading a book is so much worse than a reading on an iPad. You mean because of the backlit screen?

Blue light. It's the whole reason f.lux and blue light filters exist, and why the Kindle Paperwhite is such an amazing device: front-lit with no blue light.

I agree.

He tried reading and stayed up reading and it didn't work. But what about stopping all electronic things after 21:00 and then reading on your couch NOT bed, then go to bed at 22:30? You'll sleep like a baby.

Thanks to this article, today I learned that there's a name for the thing I have, "delayed sleep disorder."

I became an entrepreneur at age 22 not because I wanted to change the world, but because I just wasn't able to wake up early enough for a "real job." I figured there had to be a way to make the same amount of money I was making at the time, but keep my own hours. I always tell people I have "vampire hours."

I'm 38 years old now. I typically go to sleep around 4am+ every night and wake up around 11am or noon. I usually don't take meetings before 1pm and have unknowingly designed my life and career around this disorder.

I was also diagnosed with ADHD as a kid, which, according to Wikipedia, is linked to this sleep disorder.


Be careful diagnosing yourself on the internet. There are a variety of things (some with cures!) that can make it hard to fall asleep or wake up. I'd strongly suggest seeing a specialist if you aren't sleeping well.

I have flux on my desktop, but I'll be looking for a filter for my iphone. (Edit: I like the orange glasses idea better.)

Here's what I do: an alarm goes off at 10:30pm and I take melatonin. If I actually shun devices, I can eventually sleep. But my brain is curious and wants to browse. I try to tell myself that I can in the morning. That sometimes works.

Lately I've been tracking my sleep with "sleep time". I also have a folder of sleeping and hypnosis apps that I cycle through. They talk me through relaxing muscles, calming my thoughts, deep breathing, binaral beats... I've sleeped better lately and actually look forward to it some.

Also exercise seems to help, if I do. (Edit: I'm enjoying the other tips here, thanks.)

When I was following the starting strength program I was asleep before my head hit the pillow - if you're thinking about following a heavy weight, compound exercise program this is one of the nice benefits. A 2 times body weight dead lift is a very effective way of feeling exhausted.

I can vouch for deadlifts putting you to sleep as that is part of my regular routine. 30-40 reps of Turkish Get-ups at 25% of your body weight is also very effective.


I do the same thing: I have a sleep alarm, instead of a wake alarm. When the alarm goes off, I take 1mg melatonin. [1] About an hour later, I naturally want to sleep. Otherwise, I'll end up phase-shifting once again.

[1]: http://www.gwern.net/Melatonin

For blocking blue light, instead of filtering the devices, just filter your eyes:


I've been wearing those for ~2 hours before sleeping and they work very well.

These probably work wonders on your sex life too.

heh. my fiancée jokingly refers to me as "nerd bono"

(she also has a pair and wears them)

Hahaha cool.

I'm asleep in about 10 minutes and so can you: - no computer, tablet, tv 60 minutes before the bed.. - no lights in the bedroom - breath-in & breath-out while counting from 100 to 1


> and so can you

Well, thanks for the suggestion, but it's certainly not for everyone.

<rant> Sometimes my sleep-awake schedule breaks and it's a PITA.

I can lie for hours in a almost complete darkness, counting breaths/sheeps/listening to rain outside/etc and still not falling asleep for a single bit. Melatonin doesn't do much; haven't tried anything else. Then, when it's a day already, nor willpower, nor direct sunlight, nor coffee is not enough to keep me awake for a long time - usually I can't stay until evening. Let me lay for a minute and I'll be asleep even if the sun's shining right onto my closed eyes.

The only way for me to fix my schedule seems to gradually shift sleep times by several hours (i.e. go to sleep at 10:00 [a.m.], then 13:00 then 15:00 and so on) until I'm again falling asleep in the late evening and waking up at morning. Then I'd have to do my best to not break the schedule again, i.e. not fall asleep too early and not stay up for too late. </rant>

What happens if I don't fall asleep at 0? Will I die? Will I get a BSOD?

You carry on into negatives. Eventually you'll get to -32,768, and then you can start again from 32,767 - assuming you have a 16 bit brain that is. God help you if yours is 32 bit.

You enter negative integer land. Assuming you started at binary twos complement +4 you've only got five counts to decide on register width before 1111 1111 then 1111 1110 etc

Personally I'd start at a bigger number like decimal 127 aka 0111 1111

you wrap around to 100 and start again. Hopefully, this endless loop with help you fall asleep. :-)


What, you couldn't afford sheep? What is America coming to?

That might work for you, but it's not a real solution for many of us with diagnosed sleep disorders.

But it's easy to try, free, and does not require python3

If you have a diagnosed sleep disorder, shouldn't you be getting advice from a doctor, rather than the internet? I think it was pretty clear that the commenter was giving advice to the majority of people who have not been diagnosed with a sleep disorder.

I find that counting in 1s a touch too easy for my brain to not have other thoughts going on as well - counting up in 2s is just tricky enough that it takes nearly all the available fast thinking but no so much that I can't fall asleep - generally I'm asleep by 300

In a similar vein, I've had problems sleeping all my life. The easiest solution was exercise, I began rollerblading to/from work as well as pretty much everywhere (~ 15-20km per day). During that period it never took more than a minute or two to fall asleep.

Now I live in a city with laws against roller blading in the street and cobbled pavements, so once I again I'm insomniac.

I shall try the articles suggestions

What would work just as well for the author would be simply listening to audiobooks.

He says "For me falling asleep takes a cooling down period where my mind slowly disengages. That’s why watching old TV shows is so effective; it gives me something to focus on without letting me really engage."

You can get the same effect by listening to an audiobook, without having to worry about the glow of a screen at all. I use a cheap dollar-store speaker tucked under my pillow, where the muffled drone of the book is still distinct and listenable, but just soporific enough to lull me to sleep. The only thing to remember is to set a timer so it turns off, rather then continuing on for hours and potentially waking you up again.

What helped me was stopping drinking coffee. Even one cup in the morning. Two days of headache, two weeks of not being focused and suddenly I can actually fall asleep at 11pm.

Before that my brain was too alert up to ~1am.

> That’s why watching old TV shows is so effective; it gives me something to focus on without letting me really engage.

This is what I've been doing for years, there's probably about 20 films that I must've seen dozens of times each, and a few TV shows that I know and like enough to be able to watch time and time again without needing to focus on exciting plot twists because I already know them. Works really well for me, but this is the first time I've come across another person doing the same thing.

"LPT: Have sleep-onset insomnia (difficulty falling asleep)? Stop thinking with words and think with images instead."


I’m not sure if there is any evidence backing this up. Trying this myself didn’t work too well because my eyes tend to seize a little bit when I try to 'think with images'.

Congrats on finding something that works. If you ever want to try reading again, try rereading books. It works pretty similarly to how old TV shows work for you (at least for me). As long as you stick to simple to read books (stuff designed for young adults but still interesting to adults works well: Ender's Game, The Hobbit, The Phantom Tollbooth, etc.)

A blue light is also good for dealing with jet lag. Here's one from Philips that has a rechargeable battery and is portable:


I've been a f.lux fanatic for a long time. Recently, though, I've been getting headaches that seem to be relieved by turning it off. I think it has something to do with getting a variety of color input rather than mostly red or mostly blue, but an expert I am not.

I find my solution more practical -- I flip the devices onto my desk face down/put into sleep mode

There are mentions in this article of tricks that may or may not work for you, but in any case, do try F.lux if you haven't already. It's very, very great when working late on the screen.

For Linux, use redshift (and the companion gtk-redshift GUI).

Also: orange-tinted glasses. I have delayed sleep phase syndrome as well and am giving them a go.


Lux for android is a great, (paid) automated solution

Twilight (color adjustment is in the free version) works nicely too.

So why not just get blue blocker glasses so you don't have to filter everything in the house individually???

On your mac you can use alt+shift+dim to get 4ths of the normal box.

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