Computer screens give off an unnatural blue light that tricks the eye into believing that it’s daylight. While that might sound like a good thing, it’s actually a really bad one for people who have a hard time falling asleep. Unsurprisingly, a ton of people experience difficulty falling asleep after using their computer.
Blue light from computer screens is also blamed for eye strain. When you work for eight or more hours a day on the computer, the problem only worsens.
GNOME Night Light and programs like it aim to minimize the problems caused by blue light by subtly changing the color of your monitor over time to mirror more natural light patterns, sort of like the sun moving across the sky.
Enable Night Light
It’s really easy to enable GNOME Night Light. Find your GNOME Settings, then click on the “Display” Icon. At the bottom of the window that pops up is the option to enable Night Light. Click on it.
When you do, another window will open with the control for Night Light. First, flip the switch to turn it on. To set the schedule for Night Light, you have two options. First, you can click on “Sunset To Sunrise.” This option will use your computer’s clock to determine roughly when the sun rises and sets and enable Night Light during the span of time after the sun has set and before it rises the next day.
If you’d rather set the times manually, you can do that too. Just click on that button and use the two controllers below to adjust the times. Keep in mind that GNOME is using a 24-hour clock.
You can manually set the “temperature” of the color that GNOME Night Light sets your monitor to. If you’ve ever used an LED light bulb, you should be familiar with the concept of color temperatures. Lower number temperatures are generally warmer and redder in color. Higher temperatures are in the blue/white spectrum. The goal here is to move the monitor to a lower, redder temperature.
For this next part you’re going to need a program called “dconf-editor.” If you don’t already have it installed, grab it from your distribution’s repositories. It’ll definitely be there.
When the window opens up, click to navigate through to “/org/gnome/settings-daemon/plugins/color/night-light-temperature.” By default, a switch there will be set to use the default value of 4000. Flip that switch off.
Which color you choose is up to you, and you should test it out with your monitor to see what looks best and feels good for your eyes. The “reasonable” range is between 1000 and 10000 – any more or less wouldn’t be all that good. Don’t try setting it to the 4 billion+ max that appears on the window. Chances are you’re not going to like the result.
For your reference, though, 6500 is the default value that GNOME uses when Night Light is off. It’s probably best to keep your value below that.
When you’re happy with your settings, click the blue check at the bottom of the window to accept them. They’ll be applied immediately.
GNOME Night Light is easy to use, and if you use GNOME, it’s already built in to your desktop environment. For the benefit that it can have, there really isn’t any reason not to set it up and see how well it works for you.