Many e-book reader programs (at least on Android) like Cool Reader or FFBReader offer the "Night" reading mode - basically, reverting from usual dark-text-on-light-background to light-text-on-dark-background.

Are there any studies showing whether there are benefits or downsides to one's eye health when reading books in "night mode" vs "normal mode" at night (low light) or during day (plenty of light)?

Ideally it would cover different display types, but personally I'm especially interested in ~5" LCD and AMOLED displays as on recent flagship Android smartphones.

3 Answers 3


I found this article which explains how our body reacts to these LED devices (including ereaders). Near the end of the article, it says that programs that reduce the amount of blue light do actually aid you in getting a better nights sleep.

So, to summarize the article; blue light is what causes you to have a bad nights sleep after using a LED device (including ereaders). So, in order to reduce the blue light, you need to get rid of the bright colours. Programs for your computer, and night mode for your tablet do this effectively. Of course, this isn't a 100% solution, but it does help.

  • 2
    Does the article have references to some (peer reviewed) studies? Thx
    – DVK
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 20:27
  • 1
    For eliminating the blue light, you could also use something like Gunnar's glasses. I use them all the time at work now and my eyes feel much better after hours of programming: gunnars.com/what-are-gunnars
    – Jason Down
    Commented Dec 20, 2013 at 21:58
  • amazon.com/s?rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aamber%20safety%20glasses are far less spendy, if less fashionable, yet will fit over existing prescription lens glasses.
    – K7AAY
    Commented Dec 26, 2014 at 3:21

This BBC article discusses the effect of of using e-book readers on your melatonin and sleep. It is based on this study.

The conclusion is that the blue light emitted by tablets and phones etc. can interfere with your sleep (but traditional e-book readers with passive screens do not).

So, those apps could help if they reduce the brightness or adjust the colour temperature (less blue) of the screen.

  • The first two paragraphs see OK but could you provide a cite for the last - I believe the tablet is still emitting light and this causes the issue
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 18:36
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    Yes, it is still emitting light, so a traditional e-reader (or a book!) are still the best options, but apparently reducing the brightness does help. Here's a reference for that (at the bottom of the article is the link to the study) - medicaldaily.com/…
    – Tom
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 18:57

From personal experience, switching to Night Mode helps reduce eye strain though it depends on whether you have a specific eye condition that requires you to read (e)books in Bright Light. It's important to note that you should minimize your exposure to the colour blue if you intend to fall asleep (see: this page). It'd be best to adjust the blue tint of your screen but I do recommend colour inversion! It works wonders for eye strain!

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