Shortly after Christmas my family took a week-long trip back to Oklahoma. It was fun. We got to see many friends and relatives and visit several old haunts.

I tried to pack as little as possible, but decided a few things were worth the extra bulk. One was my blue light panel. If you don’t know what that is, imagine a small plastic box containing a rectangle of bright blue LED lights. Prop the box up somewhere in view, turn it on, and go about your morning routine.

It sounds silly, but I’ve found this to work pretty well for resetting my internal clock. Especially in the middle of winter, when the days are too short, I have trouble going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning. This leads to a noticeable drop in energy and mood during the day.

Seeing blue light for a few minutes makes the brain think it’s daylight – time to wake up! This resets the body’s day/night cycle, making it easier to sleep when night comes. I can’t speak for anyone else, but seems to help me feel better.

So I was doing my morning shave, glancing at that blue light, and got to thinking: What if I could leave its power cord at home? Could I adapt it to run from an iPad charger? A check of the panel’s electrical requirements suggested that it might be possible, but wouldn’t be easy. I set the idea aside.

At bedtime that night, as I was doing a few last-minute things on my iPhone, I had another thought: Wow – this screen is so bright. And so blue. No wonder it’s hard to sleep after playing Angry Birds.

A bright little screen that’s always with me…

When we got back to Colorado a few days later we started working on our new project. It was in the App Store a month later. It simulates the effects of a blue light panel on an iPhone or iPad. Unlike an LED panel, it adds no extra bulk or weight. Our tests also show that it has only a small effect on battery life. Perfect for travelers and office workers!

Blue LED panels typically cost $60 and up, depending on the brand and whether you buy new or used. Our app is only $1.99. If you have an iOS device and want to see if blue light will help, give ours a try.

More info:

(Android friends: We haven’t forgotten you, but we’re testing demand first on iOS. We appreciate your patience.)