f.lux: Live Better Through Proper Screen Lighting

One of the challenges working with screens is that it really messes with our sleep cycles. The bright, blue light, which is much brighter/bluer than natural sunlight, tricks our brains into thinking that it’s later than it really is.

End result: you sleep later and the quality of your sleep deteriorates.

It’s a well researched phenomenon of our current screen-heavy lifestyles. From the f.lux research page:

The science that explains why blue light keeps you up was begun many years ago in the study of bird migration, and it continued in humans with the discovery of a new photoreceptor in the eye, called Melanopsin. Many are familiar with the “rods and cones” that provide our visual capabilities, but it was only about 15 years ago that retinal ganglion cells containing melanopsin, which are sensitive to a narrow band of blue light in the 460-480nm range, were discovered, and their unique effect on sleep was investigated.


The experimental research suggests that an average person reading on a tablet for a couple hours before bed may find that their sleep is delayed by about an hour. Clearly, the details are complicated, but that’s why we get to cite so many very interesting papers.

There are a few ways you can help mitigate this. The first is to set a time when you stop using your devices to let your eyes and brain readjust to a more natural state. This includes the usage of mobile devices (stop using it in bed!), laptops, tablets, and televisions. The second, while not a perfect solution, is to adjust the temperature of your display to closely mirror the state of the sun outside.

We love f.lux

I’ve been using f.lux for years now with great effect.

f.lux, a free program, is available for Windows, OSX, and mobile devices. It adjusts the temperature of your display to mimic the temperature of light outside. As the sun sets, your body clock naturally wants to start winding down. However, with blueish white light from our screens, we are short circuiting that process. So, f.lux adjusts your display to become more yellow/orange/red in order to relax things.

Get f.lux for free here. Your eyes (and your sleep) will thank you for it.

More reading

Reading On A Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You (Huffington Post)
Blue light from electronics disturbs sleep, especially for teenagers (Washington Post)

Is it Possible to Reverse the Damage From Sitting?


The Washington Post published an article today on the possibility of reversing the damage to your health from sitting.

The study they cite says that getting up and walking for 5-10 minutes at time helps reduce the blood pressure build up from blood pooling in your legs and feet. Very similar to why getting up and walking every couple of hours on a long flight is a good idea (also why your legs swell during flight — not from the lack of pressure!)

I’m personally a big fan of taking frequent breaks to either stand at a desk to work or going outside for some fresh air and vitamin D.

Beyond just blood pressure build up, there are also a multitude of other factors that are introduced while sitting at a desk all day: poor posture causing back, neck, and shoulder issues, wrist pain, shortened hip flexors that affect your standing posture and flexibility, and so much more. We’ll get into this more as work place ergonomics and postural health is a personal interest of mine.

Check it out the full here.

Your lifestyle has already been designed… or has it?


While the original article was written almost 4 years ago, it keeps popping up now and then.

Check it out: http://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/

The author argues that the 40 hour work week was designed as a beast that feeds itself — a way to generate income so you can buy stuff you don’t need, sit in a chair for half of your waking life to generate said income, thereby keeping the economy afloat.

What do you think? Do you feel like a slave to the 40 hour work week? Are you working on plans to break free from the feedback loop to pursue time freedom?


Welcome to Undesk

Undesk was created out of a need to design a better work lifestyle.

Today’s worker is constantly on the move — whether working remotely from home/satellite office/coffee shop, on the road, at a conference, or elsewhere. The traditional format of being chained to a desk from 9-5 is quickly disappearing and is being replaced by companies that understand roles based on performance and workers ready to embrace that change.

We’ll be sharing ways to  improve your work life: how to be the most efficient out of the office, gear that helps you stay effective, software to enable you, and workspace design to help you tailor both your home and office environments to maximize productivity and comfort.

In the near future we’ll be making well designed gear and equipment available to you through our online store. It will be a great curated collection of items that will satisfy both the needs presented by a fast moving lifestyle and discerning taste.

About Me

I’m Andrew Hahn and I’ve been working in the online space for quite a number of years. From the glory days of the BBS to the modern internet community, I’ve seen firsthand how technology has been transforming the way we work.

As a self avowed tech geek my interests quickly went into human computer interaction and ways with which to improve work efficiency, improve work/life balance, and allow for more personal freedom.

I’ll be joined by some of my friends who will be sharing their domain knowledge with you.