Oyster is one of the largest e-book subscription services in the US and they want to encourage you to read at night. Traditionally the bright screens on your smartphone or tablet make this difficult, but the company has just released a new feature called Lumin, which automatically adjusts your device’s light levels based on the time of day. The result, they say, is better sleep and less eye strain — good news for habitual late-night readers.
Lumin simply doesn’t adjust the brightness of your screen, but reduces the amount of blue light it’s emitting. This is actually a bigger deal than most people realize, as its been statistically proven that blue light suppresses melatonin.
So what is melatonin and why is it a big deal? Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland at night and under conditions of darkness in both diurnal and nocturnal species. It is a “timing messenger,” signaling nighttime information throughout the body. Exposure to light at night, especially short-wavelength light, can slow or even cease nocturnal melatonin production. Suppression of melatonin by light at night results in circadian disruption and has been implicated in sleep disturbances, increased risk for diabetes and obesity, as well as increased risk for more serious diseases, such as breast cancer, if circadian disruption occurs for many consecutive years, such as in nightshift workers.
The new Lumin feature is available for both Android and iOS for US residents.
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.