Under normal circumstances, most computing device displays are engineered to emit light that falls within the blue wavelength frequency range. During the day, this blue light is preferable because it can boost attention, reaction times, and mood. However, at night, long-term exposure to blue light can have a detrimental impact on a person's sleep patterns.
Obviously, the lack of proper sleep can lead to all sorts of problems ranging from mere tiredness to lost productivity, to serious disease and physical ailments. In a modern always-on, always-connected workforce, it is not uncommon for employees to work on their blue light emitting computing devices well into the evening, possibly doing more damage than they know.
But there are steps you can take to mitigate the problem.
Many operating systems include configuration options that allow users to adjust and reduce the amount of blue light emitted by their devices. Microsoft, for example, includes this feature in the Windows 10 system configuration settings. This how-to tutorial shows you how to activate Night Light in Windows 10, how to adjust intensity, and how to place the feature on a schedule that matches your work habits.
SEE: Windows 10 power tips: Secret shortcuts to your favorite settings (Tech Pro Research)
Night Light activation
To activate the Microsoft Windows 10 Night Light feature, open the Windows Settings screen by clicking the Start Button and selecting the system's icon on the Start Menu. Click or tap the System item, and then select the Display tab in the left navigation bar as shown in Figure A.
To activate Night Light, just move the toggle button to the On position. Assuming you have given Windows 10 permission to track your location, the system will set Night Light to start at sunset. If you want to specify a time other than sunset, you have to delve into the Night Light settings. Follow the arrow shown in Figure B.
If you want to turn on Night Light now, click the Turn on now button. The display will shift to a softer orange hue (Figure C) with much less blue light to interrupt your sleep. You can use the sliding bar labeled Color temperature at night to adjust the intensity. The default should be fine for most users, but choose whatever setting works best for you.
To schedule beginning and ending times for Night Light to be active other than sunset and sunrise, scroll down the page, and click the Set hours radio button. The screen will add a section (Figure D) where you can set a schedule that fits your preferences and work patterns.
If you simply must work on your computer or smartphone late into the evening, activating the Windows 10 Night Light feature could improve your ability to sleep when the work is done. It is a simple feature to use, but it could mean more to your overall health than you think. It certainly wouldn't hurt to give it a try—the benefits may surprise you.
- How to set a schedule for Android 8.1 Night Light (TechRepublic)
- Top ten features in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 April 2018 Update: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Here's how you can still get a free Windows 10 upgrade (ZDNet)
- Windows 10 October 2018 Update: New clues 17763 is final build, plus launch date (ZDNet)
Do you work at often work at night? How do you sleep? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.