How to Sleep Better With f.lux

By Jennifer Hernandez

Electronics are woven into our daily lives. We send late-night emails and cuddle up with our phones to check our newsfeed before bed, but our fondness for bright white screens may be harming our sleeping patterns.

Light in electronics is heavily composed of attention-boosting, blue wavelengths, which prevent the release of melatonin, a hormone that regulates our internal clocks and assists with sleep. Blue light suppresses melatonin more powerfully than any other kind of light, which can lead to health issues like lack of sleep or even cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

However, sometimes those emails and project details just can’t wait.

A new software called f.lux works with your circadian rhythm and surroundings to adjust the light and color on your screens so they don’t deter your sleep. Here are four ways f.lux — available for Mac OS X, Windows, iPhone and iPad — can help you work hard and sleep better.

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Image Courtesy of Susy Restrepo

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Image Courtesy of Susy Restrepo

  1. Uses red light

f.lux uses red light because it is least likely to suppress melatonin. The software adjusts colors on your screen to reduce the stimulating effects of blue light.

  1. Adjusts to your environment

By tuning into the time of day, f.lux makes your screen fit your surroundings. During the day, it brightens the colors on your computer like sunlight, helping you stay alert. At night, it emanates warm colors from the screen, making it easier to wind down for bed.

  1. Adapts to your personal circadian rhythm

Not everyone wakes up and goes to sleep at the same time. The software allows you to input times you wake up and go to bed so it has an idea of the environment you’re in and can work with your body’s natural release of melatonin to give off the correct light.

  1. Understands variety

For people whose work schedules change, f.lux offers three automatic settings — daytime, sunset and bedtime — so you can choose the screen light you prefer at any given time. On nights when you’re on the computer unusually late, you can still opt for the daytime brightness. You can also disable f.lux with the “working late” setting for extra color accuracy.

Top 3 Treats for Fall From Gigi’s Cupcakes

by Lauren Richardson

Gigi’s Cupcakes on Southwest Archer Road may be relatively new to the area, but they’re old pros in the cupcake business. The menu changes daily, and it offers a variety of cookies, cheesecakes, pies, cupcakes and holiday specials that look more like works of art than dessert.

In honor of fall, we’re bringing you two of Gigi’s most popular cupcakes and one new seasonal creation. Try not to drool on your computer.

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Scarlett’s Red Velvet
Red velvet and cream cheese frosting go hand in hand, and any fan of the combination will definitely love this classic cupcake. Scarlett’s features moist red velvet cake with a sweet vanilla filling. Smooth, thick cream cheese frosting artfully adorns the cake. A white chocolate heart and red sprinkles top it off, making it look every bit as elegant as it tastes.

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
With this blend of two well-loved sweets, it’s easy to see why the chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake is one of Gigi’s best sellers. Chocolate chip cookie cake is topped with cookie dough frosting, chocolate chips and a miniature cookie. Although it may seem like cookie overload, it balances very well. The frosting is thick and creamy, and the cookie is delicious. You can’t go wrong with this one.

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Photo by Lauren Richardson

Spiced Apple Cider
Although it may not feel like fall yet, Gigi’s has a new Autumn-inspired treat to help get the ball rolling. Before even taking a bite, you can smell the apple and cinnamon in the air. This apple cake has an apple butter filling, an apple cider buttercream frosting with a cinnamon sugar pretzel and an apple chip on top. It’s very… apple-y. For those who love all things fall, it’s definitely worth a try.

Individual cupcakes at Gigi’s are $3.25. Gigi’s website is currently promoting its Boo Box, which is filled with 12 mini Halloween-themed cupcakes. It’s only available until Oct. 31, so get a tasty treat and a sweet deal while you still can.

4 Ways to Color Code Your Life

By Cara Chiaramonte

Whether you’re trying to take care of your kids while working full time or preparing for your next exam, a busy schedule is a busy schedule. And when you’re busy, organization is key. That’s where color comes into play.

According to MIT researchers, the brain can still recognize and identify an image seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. The brain processes shapes, colors and orientations after the image passes through the retina, and studies have shown information needs to flow only into the brain to recognize concepts and process images.

So in order to quickly recognize your belongings on the go, follow these color-coding tips to organize your life.

Keys

There’s nothing worse than needing to enter your home quickly and fumbling for your front door key. To avoid unnecessary frustration, differentiate your keys by using key covers, which are $1.97 at Lowe’s, or nail polish if you’re DIY-savvy. Hardware stores also offer special designs when you have a key cut in-store; mine is Gator-themed!

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Image Courtesy of Arthaey Angosii

Scripture

If you’re religious, color-coding your scripture could help you better understand and appreciate its teachings. For example, in the Bible, you may choose to highlight verses by topic. Use your favorite color for passages you select as reminders for everyday life; red could be used for salvation, green could be for life and blue could be for the Holy Spirit.

Grocery Lists and/or Meal Plans

Use colored pens or highlighters to differentiate between deli items, toiletries and paper goods. If you shop based on meals, you could color code your list by types of food – breakfast, lunch and dinner. Adding color to your shopping list will not only keep you from buying that bag of Doritos you’ve been eyeing, but it will also prevent you from spending your entire day at the store.

Mobile Apps

Companies don’t design their app icons without a purpose. When you think of Facebook, what comes to mind? A blue icon with a white “f.” What about FaceTime or Messages? Those icons, along with the phone icon, are always green. Organizing your mobile apps by color will help you reach them quickly and efficiently.

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Image Courtesy of Cara Chiaramonte

At the end of the day, remember to keep it simple. Too many colors can become confusing and, therefore, counterproductive.

How do you color code your life? Let us know or share your ideas in the comments below!