Note: If you’ve never poked around on Betty Dodson’s website, which she runs with business partner Carlin Ross, you’re in for a treat. As you might imagine, they cover the gamut of sex and sexuality topics, and Betty regularly answers reader letters in her blog posts. Eric Amaranth is her long-time protoge. — Amanda P.
By Eric Amaranth for DodsonandRoss.com
I’ve been wearing Gunnar glasses for over a year now to solve the eye strain problem caused by computer/laptop monitor light. They work very well. My wife wears them as well as some of her co-workers after she told them. A few months ago, something prompted me to do further research into how computer/laptop monitor light interferes with sleep.
What this has to do with sex is, the less sleep and also quality of sleep you have, the more your sex drive suffers plus other things like falling asleep in the middle of sex, which some people get mad at their partners for and take personally.
I saw that Gunnar glasses have a yellow tint and wondered why. I called them to ask and they said it was to act as a blue light filter to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eye which contributes to eye strain. I digged some more and found this program: F.lux
It’s freeware, virus-free. It gives the user the ability to lower their blue light output on computer monitors. I’ve been using it for a few months now and noticed that I was nodding off earlier in the evening than I was before and I was going to sleep faster when I did get to bed. It was also making the screen even less jarring to my eyes even with the glasses.
Some tips on how to use F.lux. Once it’s installed, go to your running programs box in the lower right (on windows) and click the yellow and grey yin-yang symbol. That’s the F.lux icon. Go to Settings and click the button to set your location so that the program will switch on at sunset. There is another button on the main menu with three horizontal lines. click that and it opens another options menu. Hover over “Lighting At Night” and you will see six or seven lighting levels. Three from the bottom up are active, the others above them are greyed-out. At the top of the list is a button to expand the colors. Click that. You’ll be promted to restart your computer. Do so. It won’t install a virus. Come back to that Lighting at Night option and you’ll find that you can activate any of the color options.
The default is “3400k Halogen”. You’ll see your screen go more yellow under that mode. I have mine set on “Candle” which brings the blue down even more. I find that works the best for me.
I did more poking around because I wanted the same filtering program for my iPhone because a cell’s full color screen puts out blue light. If you use your phone before bed like many of us do, you’ll undo all the setup time your f.lux program did. At this time, there isn’t a good app for a phone.
I found www.LowBlueLights.com. They make and sell thin vinyl transparent yellow filters that fit over the face of your smartphone and filter out the blue light. This website sells other blue light eliminating products like their custom orange glasses to be worn while watching TV or before bed wearing them around the house. There are many LED and white light producing bulbs that we use, but they aren’t good for us either. LowBlueLights.com also offers a yellow light bulb for your house. I suggest getting that or shop on a light bulbs-only website for smaller versions that will fit your lamp on your nightstand. The yellow lights in lamps at night have been doing even more to help my sleep.
I thought my mentor Betty [Dodson] would appreciate trying out F.lux. It was a big hit! She began to nod off at 12:30am the night she was watching movies on her computer. Normally, she’s up till 2:30 or 3am, she said. Not anymore. I was surprised at how quickly it worked for her. I went out to a light bulb shop here in NYC and bought some yellow blubs and installed them in a few lamps.
The reason all this works is because melatonin production by the pineal gland begins at night as part of our internal clock. If we’re up working or playing on a monitor or smartphone, (or have other white light producers in our home or business lighting, our brain takes in the blue light through the eye and is confused because blue light means daylight, but according to your clock it’s after sunset. Your brain tries to do two things at once: prepare you for sleep and wake you up.
The prep for sleep usually wins out, but like I indicated before, the sleep is not as deep and trouble getting to sleep often results. For people who drink too much caffeine (which is also a sex drive inhibitor for many women and some men) the blue light with that makes sleeping even more difficult.
I recently talked to a client who said she sleeps poorly and when she can’t get to sleep (after doing a ton of computer work prior to bed), she will stay up and get back on the computer to entertain herself. Feeding the problem even more.
I take it further actually and use candlelight as I’m getting ready for bed. It’s fun, old fashioned, and I feel the difference when I try to keep the blazing bright bathroom light on during the shower and toothbrushing vs the candle glow.
We have enough things making a hot sex life challenging. We don’t need the damn lights and gadgets sabotaging it too.
Eric Amaranth is a sex life coach covering topics ranging from solo and partnered women’s and men’s sexuality, first time orgasm for women, orgasm during intercourse, premature ejaculation, and much more. He is the ten year protege of pioneer sex coach, Betty Dodson, Ph.D.