Have you ever had trouble falling asleep after spending time on your computer right before bed? If you spend a lot of time on your computer late at night you’ve probably noticed you just don’t feel that tired afterward.

Our bodies are very well adapted to a 24 hour sleep cycle. We have this great “biological clock” or Circadian rhythm. Basically, we like to be awake when it is light out, and asleep when it is dark out. During the transition from light to dark our bodies produce melatonin which causes us to wind down, preparing us for sleep.

When staring into a bright light (read: computer screen) this process does not work properly. When heading to bed at 10:00pm after just sending off that report, your body is gearing up to start the day. This can make falling asleep pretty frustrating.

I recently came across a great piece of software called f.lux which helps to lessen the impact of LCD monitors on our sleep cycle. What f.lux does is adjusts the color temperature of your monitor to match the time of day. In the morning the display is bright, and then gradually fades to a much softer glow at night.

There are only a few basic options, allowing you to specify where you are, and what type of lighting you have. Once configured it requires zero user interaction.

At first f.lux is very noticeable. After a few days though, I’ve really come to love it. I often get headaches at night which are hardly an issue now, well worth having the color of your monitor “off” just a little.

If you do any graphic or video work you will need to disable f.lux while working. As it does adjust the color temperature of your monitor, you just can’t do tasks where color accuracy matters. There is an option to disable for one hour, which I find handy when working in GIMP or Photoshop.

Best of all, it is free. download f.lux