Why You’ll Want To Stay Off Your Computer After 7 P.M.

Sunset at Carmel Highlands, California (photo by Margaret Lukens)
Sunset at Carmel Highlands, California (photo by Margaret Lukens)

No, it’s not due to legitimate fears of vodka-fueled facebook posting.

It’s all about protecting your productivity.

Our bodies need sleep — seven hours or more in order to be optimally productive. To get sleepy at the right time and wake up at the right time, our bodies release hormones. The trouble is that the blue/white light of computers and tablets, which mimics natural sunlight, can suppress the release of melatonin, a hormone that helps us to feel sleepy.

You can read about the science in more detail in this Scientific American article, if you’d like.

For a while I’ve been using a free software program called f.lux to avoid being kept up too late by a computer-induced midnight sun. F.lux will change the computer’s appearance from daylight blue to nighttime yellow, subtly encouraging me to turn it off and get ready to turn in. And on days I really am facing an unavoidable marathon work session, I can disable f.lux and just let that blue/white light work its midday mojo.

If you have problems with getting enough sleep, guard yourself against a computer that messes with your hormones. When it’s time for bed, back away from the screen.

One Response to Why You’ll Want To Stay Off Your Computer After 7 P.M.

  1. I’m horrified to be reading this On My Computer at 11:00 at night. Oops! Great article, I’ve heard of these little apps. Actually, I usually try to not get back on the computer after dinner. We are all online more than we really need to be, I think. Nice reminder!

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