Does F.lux actually work?



  • F.lux preportedly adjusts the color temperature of the display, which should make it easier to fall asleep. I stumbled upon it when searching for a program for adaptive nightmode on my laptop (I wanted a program to automatically change the brightness based on time of day).

    While it does seem a bit easier on the eyes, the orange hue at night mildly annoys me. I understand that orange is needed to cancel out the blue, but I'm wondering if this is honestly any better than simply turning down my display's brightness.

    I also heard about something called Gunnar which is apparently a similar concept, except it's glasses with orange lenses. However, I checked the cost and they seem a bit pricy.

    Tl; dr: How does F.lux compare to simply adjusting the display brightness or to Gunnar glasses? Does it legitimately help with sleep, or is it just the placebo effect?



  • @raftaar101 said in Does F.lux actually work?:

    F.lux preportedly adjusts the color temperature of the display, which should make it easier to fall asleep. I stumbled upon it when searching for a program for adaptive nightmode on my laptop (I wanted a program to automatically change the brightness based on time of day).

    While it does seem a bit easier on the eyes, the orange hue at night mildly annoys me. I understand that orange is needed to cancel out the blue, but I'm wondering if this is honestly any better than simply turning down my display's brightness.

    This is something you'll get used to if you continue to use f.lux. It's very common. It even says so on their FAQ (some of the terminology is from a very old version of f.lux though):

    "I installed this but it looks too pink/orange.

    On first use, it can take a while to adjust to the halogen settings. Try adjusting the color temperature sliders under Settings until you find one you like. Start with fluorescent or halogen and change it when your eyes adjust. When you disable f.lux, your screen will return to your normal calibration. We're used to looking at very blue computer screens, so it can seem unnatural at first. Most LCD displays are calibrated to display at 6500K, which has even more blue than noon sunlight (5500K)."

    I also heard about something called Gunnar which is apparently a similar concept, except it's glasses with orange lenses. However, I checked the cost and they seem a bit pricy.

    I don't use any kind of glasses, but I think one nice thing would be the ability to go anywhere in your home and not have to worry about being exposed to too much alerting light when all you want to do is unwind and get ready to go to sleep. Of course, such glasses would be unnecessary if your entire home is lit only by smart lights that can be changed to any color (even pure red).

    Tl; dr: How does F.lux compare to simply adjusting the display brightness or to Gunnar glasses? Does it legitimately help with sleep, or is it just the placebo effect?
    Reducing the brightness is better than nothing, but only if the actual backlight's brightness is being reduced. If it's just a fake brightness adjustment via the black level, then you're still getting the same amount of light.

    Since you are able to use f.lux, it's FAR better to use it because f.lux also has the ability to eliminate 100% of the blue light. Without f.lux, the best you can do is reduce your monitor's brightness, and too many monitors these days are still too bright even at 0% brightness.

    The only way f.lux can actually help you is if you are avoiding alerting light throughout the rest of your home. So even if you set f.lux to 800K with the lowest possible monitor brightness that your monitor can produce, it can still be ineffective if you're still being exposed to alerting light in other parts of your home. For this reason, I recommend investing in smart lights that can be any color, such as the LIFX A19 and LIFX BR30 lights. I have the LIFX A19 lights, and I could go on and on all day about how much I love them. The BR30 lights are the same, except they are the flood light style, shape, and size.

    So, the best way to think of f.lux is that it enables you to safely use the computer at night without the computer being the reason why you have trouble sleeping. After all, it's nearly impossible these days to avoid using the computer at night, even during the last hour or two before going to sleep (which is the most important time to be avoiding alerting light).

    I can't prove to you that there's no Placebo Effect at all even though I know there isn't. All I can do is recommend that you keep using f.lux properly and then draw your own conclusion from there. As long as you are avoiding alerting light during the last couple of hours of your day every single day, you should begin to notice the benefits of avoiding alerting light during that critical part of your day.