Staring at a bright device screen can mess up your sleep, but Amazon has come up with a way to make sure its tablets don't have you tossing and turning.
Amazon's latest software update for its Fire tablets brings out Blue Shade, a feature that reduces brightness and the amount of blue light emanating from a screen to your eyes. This gives the screen a warmer orange tint that not only is easier on the eyes in low-light settings, but could also improve the way you sleep.
The health detriment of late-night electronics has become more widely known as of late. The Harvard Health Publications finds that blue light, given off by most LEDs, electronics screens and energy-efficient light bulbs, can be especially bad.
"Not all colors of light have the same effect," said Harvard in its online health letter. "Blue wavelengths, which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention, reaction times and mood, seem to be the most disruptive at night."
"Cool" blue light, in contrast to the "warm" orange-yellow given off by incandescent lightbulbs or fire, can disrupt internal clocks and ward off sleep because it more closely resembles the light of the sun. Late-night exposure to blue light can also reduce production of melatonin, a hormone critical for getting a good night's rest as it helps regulate your circadian rhythm.
Reducing the use of blue light in electronics is nothing new, with plugins like f.lux allowing computer monitors to change screen brightness and color composition in accordance with the time. However, such functions have yet to become standard across smartphones and tablets, which are far more likely to be taken to bed for one last chapter, text, email check or Seinfeld episode.
Blue Shade was not the only feature to come with the Fire tablets' latest update. Among other changes, improved parental controls were added to help guardians choose what functions are available to their children and how long they can be accessed, which helps parents sleep easy in their own way.