What is a blue light filter from screens for?

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Pau Monfort
What is a blue light filter from screens for?

And which app is most effective at implementing it?

How often can you get a satisfying night's sleep? If the answer is not quite "always", you should think about the influence your gadgets could have on your night's sleep.

While it is common for many of us to relax late at night by reading ebooks, watching Netflix or sifting through Facebook posts, this behavior is deemed "unhealthy" by experts.

The problem is that the screens emit a blue light that tricks our brain into believing that we are awake. The easy-to-implement solution is to use a blue light filter on your phone.

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What are the problems with blue light?

Studies have repeatedly warned that using various devices in the evening can affect both the quantity and quality of sleep.

The cause lies in the exposure to light during the night. More specifically, it is exposure to shortwave blue light, that generated by phones and tablets and virtually any gadget with an illuminated display.

Sunlight also contains blue light, which is vital during the day. It is what helps keep us awake and alert, and is an integral part of how the sleep cycle works.

However, nocturnal exposure to blue light is negative, because it tricks the brain into believing it is still daytime. A study by the British National Health Service has shown that it suppresses the secretion of melatonin (the hormone that is produced at night and prepares the body for sleep).

Its impact is so important that another study speculated that having a blue LED shining from a car's dashboard would be an effective way to prevent a driver from falling asleep at the wheel.

So what can you do, apart from turning off your cell phone a few hours before going to bed? Simple: you can go to the Google Play Store and download some of the many apps that completely filter the blue light.

What does a blue light filter do?

Most blue light filter apps work in a similar way. They remain inactive during the hours of the day, but after sunset they overlay a reddish layer on the screen to change the color temperature.

In this way, everything takes on a reddish color, which takes some getting used to. In addition to eliminating the negative effects of blue light, reflections also decrease significantly. Even if you are skeptical that it can help you improve your sleep, you will immediately notice a reduction in eye strain when using your cell phone in a dimly lit room.

The apps aren't perfect though: using this red overlay reduces contrast, and turns blacks into a dark red shade.

In addition, they can activate a security feature present in Android that makes certain buttons become inaccessible when overlays are detected. You can realize this if you try to install an app from an alternative app store. In order to tap the Install button you need to pause or close the filtering app directly.

Does Android have blue light filters?

First, you should check if a blue light filter is already present on your mobile phone. In Android Nugget 7 one was introduced, but it must be taken into account that manufacturers do not always choose to include it in their versions of the operating system.

So, if your smartphone has Android 7 or later go to Settings> Display> Blue Light Filter (or similar entry).

The best blue filter app: Twilight     

Twilight is the best blue filter app for android. It manages to gradually reduce the color temperature of the display (making it more reddish) and dims the screen until it reaches the desired levels of color and brightness.

This gradual change means that you will hardly realize that the light is changing. Using the sensor present in the mobile, Twilight is able to constantly and automatically adjust its settings, making sure that they always adapt to the ambient light conditions.

Two features make Twilight particularly useful: one is that you can set it to automatically disable itself when certain apps are open (this way it won't disturb the viewing of streaming content from YouTube or other sources). Another is that it works with the Philips HUE smart lighting system, to make home lighting as sleep-friendly as possible.

The app comes in two versions, one free and the other is the For ($ 3.49).

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