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The secret to a better night's sleep isn't what you think

The secret to a better night's sleep isn't what you think
© Viorel Dudau | Dreamstime.com

LED lights began to replace incandescent lights in the early 2000s as they forged a path to a cheaper light bill. Although the bulbs cost more, they're more energy efficient, which saves you money in the long run.

But while we were saving money, we didn't realize that LED lights can be worse for our eyes. They emit a bluer light that can disrupt our sleep patterns. To solve this issue, companies are working on better bulbs.

Lighting Science makes bulbs that cater to specific needs. Their Good Night bulb has less blue light to help you sleep while their Awake and Alert bulb has more blue light to help you focus.

The electronics company Philips created a line of smart bulbs and accessories called Hue that help you control your light sources. It's more than just a dimmer, you can sync your lights to a timer or motion sensor, change the colors just for fun and sync them to music and movies.

The downside is that these lights can be expensive. The Lighting Science bulbs I mentioned earlier start at about $25 and a Hue starter kit with bulbs and the device that controls them starts at about $70. Plus, if you really want them to work, then lighting designer Beatrice Witzgall said you need special software like LumiFi to program light that's just right for you.

Note: If you'd like to learn more about blue light's effect on our sleeping patterns then listen to this podcast. Kim speaks with Emily Laber-Warren about technology's roles and some advice for better sleep.

LED lights are not the only culprit, our devices' screens also emit blue light that can disrupt our sleep. Here are some adjustments you can make. Your eyes will thank you!

Use Night Shift

Starting with iOS 9, Apple added a new feature called Night Shift. This mode reduces the blue tint of the iPhone's display, which can affect a user's sleep patterns, especially at night. Soon, this feature will be available for Macs too.

To schedule when Night Shift turns on, go to Settings >> Display & Brightness >> Night Shift. You can also manually enable this feature or tweak its color temperature in this section.

Use f.lux

F.lux automatically adjusts your monitor's color temperature at nighttime. It detects your geographic location and will begin adjusting your display to your time zone. It's a free download available for Windows and Apple computers.

If you need precise colors while you edit photos or do other color-sensitive tasks, you can disable it. Or, if you want to watch a movie and have the colors look right, you can put f.lux in Movie Mode. This disables f.lux for two and half hours.

Note: If you first install and run f.lux at night, your monitor will suddenly take on a serious shade of red. Give yourself a little time to get used to it. If the colors still don't seem right, you can adjust the warmth setting to what's most pleasing to your eyes.

Plus, here are five apps or gadgets that will help you get better sleep and three other tips for using technology to improve your sleeping habits.

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Source: NY Times
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