Why blue color disturbs your sleeping?

Design
≈ 7 minutes to read
Christopher Lampton (1987)

Not long ago the personal computers were controlled by using the data on the big black monitor with green (white) text. The command interface was replaced by the graphic interface. It was developed by Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) way back in the 70s. This development has started a new era of computer interfaces.

The first PC to use the new GUI created in 1973 was the Xerox Alto.

Now in the 21st century it has become normal for an ordinary man to spend around 12 hours at the computer + smart phone screen. But how does the gadgets light emission affect our health?

How light affects the health

We won't go deep into physics. Some points will be sufficient to understand how everything works. So, the light spectrum has two colors that we need. Blue (1) and red (2)

Light spectrum

Number 1 marks the red color with low energy. Its light is easy to assimilate at night. Therefore, for example, the lights of the red color are used in a cockpit of an aeroplane. In this case the orange color, which doesn't strain pilots' eyes, is used in the picture below, since the direct red light is associated with anxiety.

Aircraft Pilot Cabin

НIt's not surprising, that while I was typing this article in the evening, my Mac automatically switched the screen to warmer tones, helping my eyes not to strain. Thank you, Steve!

Dark mode on macOS Mojave

Number 2 marks the blue color. Its spectrum has the highest energy, it makes your eyes tired, because it penetrates to the retina. Excessive absorption of this light negatively affects our organism, even causing various diseases.

Don't be so quick to blame the blue color. Every day your organism gets a thick portion of energy from sun. This energy is important for us because the organism uses it to regulate the circadian rhythm - the circle of awakening and sleep controlled by the sleep-stimulating hormone (melatonin).

An example of artificial blue light used at night

f «amazon alexa» voice assistant always had glowing blue rim at night time, the human would sleep badly, because the blue light decreases melatonin emission. The bad sleeping is explained by the low level of melatonin in the organism. The good thing is that the backlight is got switched after carrying out the necessary functions.

Echo dot Amazon Alexa with the night blue backlight

While corporations, applications and film industry consider the use of the blue light trendy and profitable at night time, the human health suffers. Unfortunately, they just compete for the users from the visual point of view, but they don't help them, since the blue cyberpunk is the fashion!

Neo Tokyo Cyberpunk

Dark interfaces in the 21st century

Dark mode in Facebook Messenger

By the end of 2018-2019 the dark interfaces have become a boom. They are present absolutely everywhere, Apple added it to iOS 13. Dark mode is also added to Android 10, Windows 10, macOS Mojave, Chrome and Firefox, VK application, Yandex.Music, Instagram, Twitter. It switches on automatically at night time. And it's unbelievable! Why to strain your eyes? Interface revolution!

It's worth mentioning that the dark interfaces trend is a good sign of improving people's lives. But this will not be for all people and, on the other hand, it might have a negative affect. For example, the light text on a dark background worsens condition of people with astigmatism (eye disease) and makes it difficult for them to read the text so that they have to squint.

Advantages of the dark theme?

The battery lasts longer. In the smartphones with OLED display every pixel is backlighted separately and doesn't require constant backlight. This function decreases energy consumption from the battery when using the dark theme. Black and white colors are more distinct on those screens as well. Conclusion! OLED can create brighter and more realistic image, helping the battery to work longer. Taken as an example, IPhone has these screens on models iPhone X, Xs, Xs Max and higher.

Eye strain is lower. No doubt the portion of the white light to your eyes will add minimum +5 minutes to your sleep, reducing melatonin level in the organism. Say "No!" to light theme at night. Scroll through the feed one more time and go to bed peacefully :)

Conclusion

The main task of the dark interfaces is to minimise eye strain. However, don't forget about the harm of the artificial blue light at night time.

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