What's the purpose?



  • Just installed this about 4 hours ago and was pretty excited until I realized I'm not sure what this is supposed to do.

    The front page says: "You could use f.lux because it makes you sleep better [...]"

    What if I want to be active and productive day and night? Is it actually preventing eye strain so I can work longer? It doesn't say that on the front page... Or would the blue light I'm dimming away actually have helped keep me productive and awake? Am I hurting my own purpose here?



  • The main purpose is to help make it easier to avoid blue light in the critical hours before going to sleep. Blue light disrupts melatonin production. Another way to put that is, blue light is "alerting". It delays melatonin production. It causes the body to think it's morning or daytime.

    Let's say that f.lux didn't exist. You could adjust all of your lighting at night to avoid blue light entirely, but as soon as you use your computer, you're being blasted by blue light which would totally make all of your efforts to avoid blue light go to waste. So f.lux helps with that by enabling you to significantly reduce the amount of blue light that is being emitted by your computer.

    Of course, other uses can involve reducing eyestrain and discomfort. The main (and original) purpose though is to avoid blue light so that you don't disrupt or delay melatonin production which, in turn, helps you avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm.

    So, f.lux by itself doesn't make you sleep better.



  • @gambagus I like to think that f.lux also helps you be much more aware about lighting and it's effects on sleep, that's my favorite part!


  • f.lux team

    @gambagus we hope to learn a lot more about all of these questions too.

    I think there is a balance for each person somewhere that allows productive focus when you need it but that doesn't also reprogram your circadian rhythm two time zones away (what one night of iPad use can do right now, more at: https://justgetflux.com/news/2014/12/22/study.html).

    Want to help us figure it out? Try different settings of f.lux, keep notes, see what works for you. Our best measurements and models that include the most recent sleep science are posted at: https://fluxometer.com/rainbow/ and from here on out we can only learn more.



  • @lorna It may need to be a smidgen higher than 4000K because I made a strange error on a homework assignment. The answer was around 1000 or something like that and I put about seven 0s to it! When I saw the error in an email I was just shocked!



  • @TwoCables said:

    Of course, other uses can involve reducing eyestrain and discomfort.

    How exactly? Does reducing/eliminating blue light have this effect?



  • Thanks for the answers.

    I'll reiterate though: My goal is to prevent strain, and be as productive, efficient and effective as possible. I was wondering if the lack of blue light would improve my concentration (by whatever mean, be it lack of distracting eye strain, or neurochemical effects), or make me sleepier and worsen it. Or if it has nothing to do with it.



  • @lorna said:

    I think there is a balance for each person somewhere that allows productive focus when you need it [...]

    That implies that decreasing the blue light is indeed suspected to decrease productive focus, am I inferring correctly?

    (what one night of iPad use can do right now, more at: https://justgetflux.com/news/2014/12/22/study.html).

    On the other side, that link also suggests your post-sleep waking hours might be more productive, regardless of the effect the lack of blue light had on the actual nocturnal waking hours.



  • Try different settings of f.lux, keep notes, see what works for you.

    Gosh, I would, but my biggest problem with studies on psychology is the subjectiveness of the reports and the infinite amounts of factors responsible.

    I awaken some days feeling like my body is a brick and can spend the first few hours yawning to the point that tears roll down my cheek, other days I'll feel fit and spring right out of bed. This is pre-f.lux, I'm afraid my reports would have no value as to finding a trustworthy correlation let alone causation between the settings and my sleep & waking state.

    I want to get into the field professionally, but that's my biggest concern as to my ability/motivation to build my life entire life around psychology/psychiatry.


  • f.lux team

    @gambagus I have a longer answer I'd like to write for you but I'm short on time right now!

    Poor quality and short duration of sleep will destroy your focus much faster than enriched blue light will help it.

    I totally agree you on the subjectivity problem. An N of 1 study isn't great idea for research, but there are lots of reasons to figure out what works for you based on your own data. Light affects the body in incredibly custom ways. The best sleep research often has a small number of study participants because it's quite expensive and complex to isolate all those normal factors (age, chronotype, light exposure, diet, etc.).

    There are been studies that indicate that blue-enriched light can help focus, so it's probably a fine thing for most people to use at a time of day when it's not going to interfere with your sleep. (f.lux doesn't set your screen to orange during your waking daytime for many reasons.)

    And what works for you might not work for someone else, so that's why keeping objective notes, even if they're not truly scientific, could be worth it. Who knows what you might discover, and if it only helps you, that would still be well worth it for you. Having a sleep study done would be a good idea too to rule out any physiological causes (like obstructive sleep apnea).

    Some notes on cognitive effects of sleep deprivation http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656292/

    Some research about time of eating (which is another variable that has a huge affect on all this) http://www.wsj.com/articles/researchers-say-when-you-eat-each-day-may-be-crucial-to-weight-loss-1422901628

    And some thoughts on walking and how it helps creativity http://news.stanford.edu/news/2014/april/walking-vs-sitting-042414.html

    Hope this helps - I am also personally very interested to learn how to maximize productive time and creativity, so I think about how to answer this question a lot.


  • f.lux team

    Love this thread. Couple more ideas:

    1. Sleep helps people remember things and solve problems, so "productivity" is not just about the moment to moment. It's good to think about your productivity over 24 hours or 48 hours, and not 2. You can solve problems while you sleep.

    2. If you're mostly a night owl who's had the most productive hours late at night, it is extremely uncomfortable to "reorganize" your day to be earlier. The idea that you could be productive several hours earlier might be pretty strange.

    In the ideal world, people would have fantastic tools for understanding their circadian timing and how to optimize the day for what they want to do.

    What seems pretty important for productivity and "feeling good" is that people keep a more regular schedule day to day, and the trouble with really bright light at night is that it seems to make people have an irregular schedule. So one big idea with f.lux is that we give you a way to automate some of the light/dark timing this way.



  • @gambagus said:

    @TwoCables said:

    Of course, other uses can involve reducing eyestrain and discomfort.

    How exactly? Does reducing/eliminating blue light have this effect?

    Oh yes. I think at night, the highest color temp the eyes really want to see is near 4100K (but probably lower.) This is the color temperature of moonlight, which is just light from the sun reflected from the moon. I would guess this is the whitest light we would naturally ever see at night (excluding lightning, which seems very bluish, maybe 8000K in color tone).

    What I mean is, in the daytime, a 100 watt bulb looks quite yellow, but around 9 PM, you crank that thing all the way to the brightest setting, and it's VERY crisp white., not much yellow to be seen there. turn down light again

    Our eyes seem to strongly prefer warmer colored light at night, and I am sure that it's much nicer for my eyes, and relaxation.



  • @herf said:

    Love this thread. Couple more ideas:

    1. Sleep helps people remember things and solve problems, so "productivity" is not just about the moment to moment. It's good to think about your productivity over 24 hours or 48 hours, and not 2. You can solve problems while you sleep.

    What's that?!


  • f.lux team

    @timpster What? No one would ever like seeing a sunny day if that were true...



  • @timpster said:

    @herf said:

    Love this thread. Couple more ideas:

    1. Sleep helps people remember things and solve problems, so "productivity" is not just about the moment to moment. It's good to think about your productivity over 24 hours or 48 hours, and not 2. You can solve problems while you sleep.

    What's that?!

    Think back to how people say things like, "I'll sleep on it and get back to you". There's a huge amount of truth to it. With proper sleep, the brain is given the ability to process a huge amount of information.



  • @gambagus said:

    What if I want to be active and productive day and night?

    Then that's a problem. Because you can't.

    Your body (and mind) needs rest, and time to repair itself, and there's no way around it. You can pump yourself up with coffee, cigarettes, and blue light late at night, to keep yourself awake, sharpen your thinking, and get more work done. But it's not sustainable, and it will sooner and/or later catch up to you.

    After sunset, the body starts to produce melatonin, and continues for around twelve hours. One effect of melatonin is that it makes you feel more relaxed and sleepy. But it's also very important for many other processes of protection and repair. It helps process cholesterol, protects your cells' DNA, keeps your body young by fighting oxidative stress and inflammation, and most likely helps fight cancer. So it's very important for short-term and long-term health.

    Bright blue light at night can completely stop melatonin production, so instead of twelve hours, your body only has access to it for maybe seven.

    Is whatever you're working on late at night, important enough to seriously risk your health over? And are you sure that plan really works anyway? My experience is that you shouldn't expect more than about six hours of really productive work in a day. Beyond that, you push yourself into being exhausted, and the next day it's that much harder to do anything well. You end up with that on-the-treadmill feeling, and your work suffers. The research shows that people who regularly work sixty hours a week accomplish less than if they worked under fifty hours. That's accomplish in total, not per hour.

    F.lux helps you have a more natural and healthy lifestyle. What you're asking for doesn't fit in well with that. The tradeoff between the demands and stress of work, and your own personal health, is something everyone has to decide about. It can be difficult when there's a big project deadline this week - and maybe every week - that seems more important than not getting cancer twenty years from now. Believe me, it's not. When the sun goes down, your body will tell you it's time to stop working. You should probably listen to it.



  • @lorna said:

    @timpster What? No one would ever like seeing a sunny day if that were true...

    No, I detailed at night, in the daytime, I want regular light! But at night, it's incredibly relaxing to not have bright white light.



  • @timpster said:

    @lorna said:

    @timpster What? No one would ever like seeing a sunny day if that were true...

    No, I detailed at night, in the daytime, I want regular light! But at night, it's incredibly relaxing to not have bright white light.

    I have a different way to say the same thing:

    It's incredibly relaxing to not have bright white light when I have been awake for a long time (like say 18 hours).

    The reason why I put it this way is, I don't always sleep at night. I find that even I've been awake for 18+ hours by the time noon comes around and it's a clear sunny day, I notice that I prefer lower brightness levels and lower levels of blue light too.



  • @TwoCables Woah that's really interesting!



  • @timpster said:

    @TwoCables Woah that's really interesting!

    It is, actually. If I maintain my exposure to bright light, then it's not really noticeable (except for the possibility of my eyes watering). As soon as I spend like say 30 minutes or more in darker light, brighter light becomes uncomfortable for me.

    What really happens is, it takes my eyes longer to adjust to bright light when I've been awake for a long time (that is, if I go from a semi-dark room to a bright one), and I find that I feel better when I reduce the brightness in the brighter room.

    I experimented with this once in my bathroom with my dimmer (I have three 75W 20,000 Aero-Tech bulbs in there). I went in there and turned the dimmer all the way up as I always do, but I found it to be uncomfortable. So instead of using the bathroom as planned, I found myself curiously dimming the light to a more comfortable level and then playing with the brightness and learning a lot in just a few seconds of time. lol I've been hyper-aware of it ever since, and it's the same result every time.

    I think this comes from a natural production of melatonin, but I'm not sure yet. So I think the body begins producing melatonin if you've been awake for a long time and the light is dark enough, but not if you're well-rested and have only been awake for a few hours. I mean, think back: have you ever gone from a dark room to a bright room when you're well-rested and have only been awake for a few hours? It's no big deal. Do that when you've been awake for like 18+ hours, and your body is like, "No! I don't want bright light right now. Sigh." You can force yourself to get used to it and then you'll be fine, but it's not as easy as adjusting when you're not tired yet.



  • @TwoCables said:

    @timpster said:

    @TwoCables Woah that's really interesting!

    It is, actually. If I maintain my exposure to bright light, then it's not really noticeable (except for the possibility of my eyes watering). As soon as I spend like say 30 minutes or more in darker light, brighter light becomes uncomfortable for me.

    What really happens is, it takes my eyes longer to adjust to bright light when I've been awake for a long time (that is, if I go from a semi-dark room to a bright one), and I find that I feel better when I reduce the brightness in the brighter room.

    Exactly! I really don't see how people do it. I guess because they don't have a choice, and nobody (and I mean NOBODY) uses dimmer switches or even knows what they are. So they just "deal with it". I just can't do it anymore! I take an old flashlight in the bathroom to brush my teeth at night. If I had my choice I'd keep a small lamp in there haha...

    Edit: I have a night class, and to prepare for the onslaught of the 4000K+ (most likely a bit higher, but I can't tell because everything looks whiter at this time of day) fluorescent lights, I turned off all the cozy lights, and set my hue lights to daylight! Then the other fluorescent lights in the house got turned on. It's all I can do to prepare. It's just too much, maybe I can get the class to just use the one row instead of all three. Maybe Done! Helped a lot it seems.

    We just derailed this thread!



  • @timpster said:

    @TwoCables said:

    @timpster said:

    @TwoCables Woah that's really interesting!

    It is, actually. If I maintain my exposure to bright light, then it's not really noticeable (except for the possibility of my eyes watering). As soon as I spend like say 30 minutes or more in darker light, brighter light becomes uncomfortable for me.

    What really happens is, it takes my eyes longer to adjust to bright light when I've been awake for a long time (that is, if I go from a semi-dark room to a bright one), and I find that I feel better when I reduce the brightness in the brighter room.

    Exactly! I really don't see how people do it. I guess because they don't have a choice, and nobody (and I mean NOBODY) uses dimmer switches or even knows what they are. So they just "deal with it". I just can't do it anymore! I take an old flashlight in the bathroom to brush my teeth at night. If I had my choice I'd keep a small lamp in there haha...

    What? Just install a dimmer.

    Help me out here: you think that nobody uses dimmers or knows what they are? Let's not go that far; lots of people use dimmers and they do know what they are. It's just that it seems most people don't know that they shouldn't be exposed to bright light at night - especially if that light has a high level of blue in it. Go out in public and ask random people if they try to avoid bright light at night and if they are ok with using their bathroom's full brightness when brushing their teeth before bed. You might even get a few people going, "Well I have dimmers in every room. Should I be using them at night?" lol

    Typical fluorescent lights are 4100K, at least mine were at the old house.

    Perhaps you could buy several floor lamps for the class (with incandescent bulbs that you installed in them). That would heat the room up pretty quickly though.

    You can't say that you derailed a thread until you have several people following you. So far, it's just us having an off-topic conversation.



  • @TwoCables Sure, dimmers are $10, actually less, but anyway yeah, I could do that. About the floor lamps.... that'll probably never happen. I just don't want to even try. Very uneven illumination. I've thought about it a ton.

    My idea would be, 2700K (or close) awful fluorescent lights above, and everyone has a warm white LED desk lamp. The reason I wouldn't suggest incandescent is because 60 watts (or even 40) x 25 is a lot. Sure the computers may idle at 50 or so, but I just couldn't see it being a good idea for doing so, unless the overhead lights could be off. This is truly tough to design a way to provide adequate light all around the room, without having lamps in the way.

    I'd even thought about hanging chandelier style LED bulbs that get around 2300K with a bit more green in them, from the ceiling and using that instead of the overhead stuff, but would everyone be comfortable with that much lower reduction in light. I could do two of them per socket, and that may work. I wonder if any of this will take off.... I'll have to try sometime. Oh, and the desk lamps would be needed here for sure. I really think this one seems feasible! It would take a lot of adjustment from the rest.



  • @timpster said:

    @TwoCables Sure, dimmers are $10, actually less, but anyway yeah, I could do that. About the floor lamps.... that'll probably never happen. I just don't want to even try. Very uneven illumination. I've thought about it a ton.

    It would not be uneven, and it would be far superior. I bet you'll get several people thanking you for doing it. Some people might even contribute to the cost of the lamps and bulbs. You'd be surprised by how many people are keeping their feelings on this a secret for fear of looking or sounding like a paranoid lunatic.

    Again though, it wouldn't be uneven. Does the room have 4 corners?

    @timpster said:

    My idea would be, 2700K (or close) awful fluorescent lights above, and everyone has a warm white LED desk lamp. The reason I wouldn't suggest incandescent is because 60 watts (or even 40) x 25 is a lot.

    Why would you need 25?! Are we talking about a HUGE room here or something? Even so, 4-6 floor lamps spaced evenly around the room should be more than plenty.

    @timpster said:

    Sure the computers may idle at 50 or so, but I just couldn't see it being a good idea for doing so, unless the overhead lights could be off. This is truly tough to design a way to provide adequate light all around the room, without having lamps in the way.

    It seems to me that you're trying to come up with every reason for why this wouldn't work so that you don't have to do it.

    And the fluorescent lights wouldn't necessarily need to be turned off. A few bright Incandescent lights can do a very nice job of filling in the holes of the blinking fluorescent lights.

    @timpster said:

    I'd even thought about hanging chandelier style LED bulbs that get around 2300K with a bit more green in them, from the ceiling and using that instead of the overhead stuff, but would everyone be comfortable with that much lower reduction in light. I could do two of them per socket, and that may work. I wonder if any of this will take off.... I'll have to try sometime.

    Why would you use LEDs? We're talking about using incandescent lights in order to get away from the flicker.

    Maybe you could ask the teacher/professor if you could stand up in front of the class to ask everyone how they feel about the lighting in the room, to get an honest show of hands from everyone who would prefer to use incandescent lights instead of the fluorescent lights. Or maybe you could show up early one day and just set up 3-4 floor lamps evenly around the room with like 150W incandescent light bulbs in them. Who knows? You could end up being everyone's hero. You might be surprised by how many people secretly wish the room had incandescent lights. More and more people are awake and aware these days than ever before.



  • @TwoCables the desk lamp thing would be very small lamps, with domes, to light up paper for taking notes. It's a class that involves lots of note taking, and seeing the notes is very important. A lamp per person because I think there is around 20-25 people in the class.

    I'm thinking about floor lamps that shine directly upward, and back down as to not glare into anyone's eyes when they look around the room. Yes, the room has four corners, but there are 3 rows of desks, 1 row for left / right side of room, so 6 long desks, and not a large amount of room in the middle. Also the desks, from the front / back have very little amounts of room in between, enough for one person at a time to get through. Just trying to give you a general idea of the size of the room.

    I think the lamps in (almost) the corner may work, but I'd like one in the middle, but I really don't think that's remotely feasible, as it would be in the way. I'm not sure how I would set it up, but I'm sure we can come up with something!

    Maybe @lorna has some ideas too! Do you have any ideas of strategic lamp placement for a setup like I've mentioned above? I'll make a picture in Paint, and add it here for a better visual.



  • All desks (except the back one) have 3 computers.

    http://i.imgur.com/WFm7N2q.png

    Oh, and they are all about the same size, that picture is not drawn to scale!!!



  • Not all floor lamps shine upward only. Mine shine up and down, and glow sideways too. Brightly.



  • @TwoCables Yeah I don't want the light in people's eyes, that's very distracting, and it's not nice to look through a really bright light to see across the room. That's why I'd want to use one that only shines up.

    Alternatively, I could use really tall one's that only go down (and inevitably to the sides, but it's higher up so it would hopefully be better).



  • @timpster said:

    @TwoCables Yeah I don't want the light in people's eyes, that's very distracting, and it's not nice to look through a really bright light to see across the room. That's why I'd want to use one that only shines up.

    Alternatively, I could use really tall one's that only go down (and inevitably to the sides, but it's higher up so it would hopefully be better).

    Um, mine aren't bright in that way. They'd be perfect for this. They're just simple cheap Menards store-brand floor lamps I bought 6-7 years ago that have a basic cheap lamp shade. It's nothing like you think. I don't know where you're getting these negative views from.

    I think you're over-thinking this and over-complicating it.



  • @TwoCables Well it's new for me, and I've never done anything like it, so it's difficult to come up with something that I'm fairly sure might work. Of course there will be little issues along the way but I want to knock out all the big ones.



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @TwoCables Well it's new for me, and I've never done anything like it, so it's difficult to come up with something that I'm fairly sure might work. Of course there will be little issues along the way but I want to knock out all the big ones.

    But surely you've seen more than one type of floor lamp and more than one type of lamp shade - if not in person, then at least on T.V. or in movies or in commercials.

    So yeah, I've never done anything like this either, but I can picture the results and they can be quite good.



  • @TwoCables Well so far what I did was just use a small lamp with a dome over it, and I'm good to go, the problem is that if anyone else is having issues, they haven't said anything. It was made clear that the lights would be slightly dimmer in the room, and that was accomplished, and nobody complained, which is also great. And they know I brought a lamp, so if by now, I've done all that and made it clear, and someone is still having issues, then that's on them.

    I did what I thought was best for me, and if by me asking for help and for changes to be made to the lights didn't inspire someone else to step up to the plate and voice any issues they were having, then they are making bad decisions!



  • @Tungsten_smooth said:

    @TwoCables Well so far what I did was just use a small lamp with a dome over it, and I'm good to go, the problem is that if anyone else is having issues, they haven't said anything. It was made clear that the lights would be slightly dimmer in the room, and that was accomplished, and nobody complained, which is also great. And they know I brought a lamp, so if by now, I've done all that and made it clear, and someone is still having issues, then that's on them.

    I did what I thought was best for me, and if by me asking for help and for changes to be made to the lights didn't inspire someone else to step up to the plate and voice any issues they were having, then they are making bad decisions!

    That's kinda cold, man. Some people just lack what it takes to speak up and will suffer just so they don't have to go through the pain of speaking up. Maybe you could speak to the entire class and ask for a show of hands of how many others would prefer incandescent light over the fluorescent light.



  • @TwoCables Well shit, what do you want me to do. I contacted the instructor and let that person be aware of my situation. If I bring in a lamp, and the instructor makes it clear that we are dimming the lights because it works better for me (especially at night now) and someone else doesn't get the idea to do the same? Well now that's just hurting themselves. It was made very clear, so there's nothing else I can do. I could just ask random people if they have issues after a while with the lights but why would I? That'd be really weird and uncomfortable, if they have a real issue with them, they should let someone know.

    That's what I did, and it's been taken even further (in a great way) by having other people contacted so that they are aware that basically, fluorescent lights make it difficult for me to work after an hour. (that's what I said, but in the daytime it can be much much faster if there are no windows) Why there is a difference between my tolerance at night, vs the daytime with no windows is beyond me, but currently that's where I'm at. Also they also now know that I prefer incandescent / halogen light, and I tried to make it clear in the message especially at night so that they know to expect that.

    Also I added a link (3 or 4) from the fluxometer about 2 fluorescent light sources, and incandescent sources so that they can see what I already know. I detailed that I feel the screwed up color spectrum makes it harder for me, and I still strongly stand by that. It can be anywhere, and I'll take that same object that I'm reading (I've even done it with a textbook because I really wanted to know) outside, and while it's not night and day, there is a measurable and appreciable 15-20% improvement in my ability to read. I still need to bring in some sort of magnifier which I should be doing anyway, but technically I could "get by" without it. It's not always fun to "get by" which is why I'm glad I did all this.

    So you see, I did this FOR ME, and hopefully to spark someone else to do the same, if they don't then I have no remorse. One single message, and it will lead to much much more.



  • I thought you were talking to the instructor in person and I thought that you wanted this for the whole class in addition to having it for yourself.

    Now that you've explained it, I think it's heartwarming that you were able to do this much and that no one has so far spoken up and complained that it's too dark or something.

    Before this reply, I thought that you wanted to show everyone how superior incandescent lighting is over fluorescent and LED by just having the instructor allow you to illuminate the whole room with incandescent lighting so that they could turn off the fluorescent lights.


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