The Best Way to Read a Book Using Your SmartPhone’s Screen

Disclaimer: This blog post is full of silly adverbs. You’ve been warned.

Read a Book.

That sentence is no longer as simple as those three minute words might have originally conveyed. In the world of today (today being 2015), reading a book is followed not only with what? but also how? What you read is part-one or part-two of how you read, said book. And reading is hurting your eyes.

If you are still reading a book the old-fashioned way, that being printed words on paper, you’re doing your eyes a favor. But it’s impossible to read only from books and printed newspapers these days. When not reading a book, we’re reading news articles from our radiating smart phone screens, from our high definition and 4K+ computer screens, from our tablets, etc, etc. And now our eyes scream.

Yelling Eyes

Why are our eyes yelling? Why do they tire so easy? and yet you find it hard to go to sleep at night? Why oh why oh why. According to a study published by PNAS.ORG, the use of light-emitting eReaders can negatively affect sleep, circadian timing, and next-morning alertness. And in 2012, the American Medical Association made the following recommendation:

“Recognizes that exposure to excessive light at night, including extended use of various electronic media, can disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents. This effect can be minimized by using dim red lighting in the nighttime bedroom environment”

My Blue Heaven

Blue light keeps you up late. Later than you would before the influence of blue light. According to the AMA research, the average person reading from any blue light emitting device found their sleep often delayed versus a person reading from devices that does not emit said blue light. Paper books don’t emit any light. So, that’s something.

Christian Cajochen did the first known research which measured modern LED displays against older computer monitors. Cathode ray tube, where are you now? According to Laura Beil’s 2014 New York Time article: “Any sort of light can suppress melatonin, but recent experiments have raised novel questions about one type in particular: the blue wavelengths produced by many kinds of energy-efficient light bulbs and electronic gadgets.” And according to Harvard Health: Blue light has a dark side. (More research).

Unfortunately, I cannot offer you the only solution to solve all of these pesky first world problems. What I can do is help you find the steps and ways to limit the strain on your eyes. These instruments will hopefully help you sleep better, help you wake better, and help you reduce that hazy feeling one gets from lack of sleep. Although, I’m of the opinion that coffee solves nearly are problems related to fatigue. But I’m no scientist.

Make no mistake, we all need our sleep in order to function. Sleep helps our brains restart and refresh. I cherish my sleeping hours as one of my most precious possessions. Sleep is my precious. And my precious needs me to attend to it daily. I cannot miss my appointment with sleep. Not for all the gold hoard in Smaug’s Lonely Mountain.

Thankfully, the tools I am going to share with you should help. But I make no guarantees. I’m not a medical doctor or an expert. Simply someone who’s done a far amount of internet research to be able to sound like I know what I’m talking about in a cocktail party.


Other than your average ereader, you have only two reading modes: regular and glowly. Glowy is the mode where ereaders like Amazon’s Kindle Voyage (or their Kindle Paperweight) let you have the background glow so you can read your book at night. Bad idea. Better to use a light to help you read. The glow, though not blue, can cause the same kind of strain as mentioned before. So, in an effort to keep things simple, if you’re reading from an ereader, use it like you would a book. Don’t use the glowy mode. It’s just too damn evil on your eyes.

Now, moving from the ereader, we have the smartphone and/or the tablet. Most reading apps offer three reading modes: White/Light mode, Sepia mode, and Night mode.

Go with Sepia

  • The regular white mode give you a white background with black text simulating what it would be like to read on a book. Note: The background, though white, is still emitting the notorious blue light I’ve mentioned earlier. A recent study, has revealed that the screens Apple uses for its smartphones and tablets emits more blue light that other screens. (I remember reading this somewhere, but for some reason, I cannot find the article which originally mentioned this study. So, I guess you’ll have to take my word on it.)
  • Sepia mode gives you a sepia background.
  • Night mode turns the background to black and the text to white so as not to disturb your loved one.

The best reading mode is sepia. Sepia doesn’t completely solve the blue light problem, but it is the less of the three evils. You best bet is sepia mode. You’re eyes will scream less and your headaches will be less frequent.


F.lux is the best app available for your computers. It works with Mac, Windows, and Linux It uses your geolocation to determine when the sun is setting where you are. And based on that information, it slowly reduces the blue on your computer screen and replaces it with an orange filter. The orange filter grows stronger further into the evening. It’s supposed to imitate candlelight. By doing this, it reduces the effect of blue light and thereby preventing you from staying up later than you should. Bed time is bed time, after all.

At the time of this writing, the only way to download f.lux onto your iPhone and iPad is to jailbreak the device. Thanks to the wonderful advances available in iOS 8.3, I personally no longer see the advantage to jailbreaking the iPhone. If you decide to jailbreak your device, you must be aware of all the possible consequences related to jailbreaking your iPhone/iPad. For more information on jailbreaking, go to

I’m sure Google’s Android has some amazing options on its end. But I’m not an Android user, so I cannot recommend any at this time.

For more suggestions, check out this Daily Beast Article.

Originally published at


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