How Orange Helps You Sleep At Night

Originally written for the Syracuse University College of Engineering blog.

Everyone at Syracuse University knows that orange is the very best college color, but who knew it could also help you sleep? Research conducted in recent years has shown that sleep problems are on the rise and one theory gaining momentum points to our electronics as the cause. Studies find that the abundance of blue light produced by our smartphones, tablets, and computer screens has a tangible impact on the chemistry in our bodies that regulates when to wake up and when to go to sleep. This isn’t a problem during the day when the sun naturally produces its own blue light, but staring at our own personal mini sun before bed can make falling asleep much more difficult. So what can we do about it? We could restrict ourselves from staring at screens an hour before bedtime, but the world is a busy place and our nighttime reading isn't always ink on paper. Instead, programmers are experimenting with software that reduces the level of blue light our screens produce after sunset. As the sun goes down, the screen shifts from a bluish glow to an orange tint and then back to blue with the following sunrise—promising a better night’s sleep for those of us that are unable (or unwilling) to give up our screens at night, This software is already publicly available for computers thanks to groups like f.lux, but availability on mobile devices is limited. Luckily, the big companies have taken notice and are taking action. In an upcoming version of iOS for iPhones and iPads, Apple plans to introduce Night Shift. Flip it on and it'll automatically determine when the sun sets and rises in your area and adjust the screen's color accordingly. Just another reason to GO ORANGE.

About The Author

Carter Yagemann ’15 is a master’s student studying computer science in Syracuse University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science. A research assistant in Professor Kevin Du‘s Android security lab, his interests include mobile security and security education. He explores problems such as how to ensure security and privacy in Android inter-component communication. Yagemann is a student member of ACM and IEEE and competes in cybersecurity competitions with the Information Security Club in Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies (iSchool).