There has been much, much focus on using dark mode in computers, phones, tablets, and e-readers the past few years. Tech companies have done a great job convincing us that we need it. Yet, some may not know how it will help them. Let’s delve into it and find out how using dark mode can help productivity.
What’s the Deal with Dark Mode?
Seriously, what’s the deal with dark mode? Not only are operating systems offering it – many apps are offering it as well. The first thought is how great it looks. So that’s the first, immediate reason to use it.
Twitter found that users spent more time when they used dark mode on the app. It’s unclear why users were more apt to spend longer while using it, but its use in this manner makes it clear that it was a wise choice for the social network to include dark mode as a feature.
But is there more to it than that? How can dark mode help with productivity? Below are the claims that have been made about dark mode and what the reality of these claims are.
Reduces Eye Strain
After doing much research on this topic, it seems when all is said and done, the strain or lack thereof may be in the eye of the beholder. Some believe dark mode reduces eye strain, but some feel it makes it worse.
We need to remember that back in the 80s, we all used computers that had black or green type on a black or dark screen. This was abandoned once we left that behind for the app world. For whatever reason, it was a time when people believed the light text on a dark background would be better and that it would make people more productive.
People with the eye condition of astigmatism find it more difficult to read white text on black than the opposite. Some of it has to do with light levels, as a white background causes the iris to close more, while a dark background causes the iris to open more and take in more light, leaving a fuzzier focus.
While this is what some research supports, I can speak for myself. I have really dry eyes and am popping eye drops from afternoon until night. The white background is definitely a strain on my eyes. I am more productive with dark mode without a doubt. I don’t just use it at night – I use it all day and night.
Can it ease your eye strain or make it worse for your productivity? Only you can determine that, not research.
May Help You Sleep Better
The eye strain topic brings us around to dark mode possibly helping you sleep better. Exposure to the light background suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that is needed for you to fall asleep.
This is why many advise that if you’re having trouble falling asleep, you should turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
If you experience this long term, it raises your risk of obesity, heart disease, and depression. Lowered melatonin is also linked to some cancers. Children can get more hyper with lowered melatonin, leading to it sometimes being mistaken for ADHD.
Suffice it to say, if you want to help your productivity, even if you prefer the light background, at the very least, either turn off screens an hour before bedtime or switch to dark mode.
Improves Battery Life
Yes, it’s true, dark mode can help your productivity by improving your battery life. However, that comes with a caveat: it’s only true if you have an OLED screen. It will not help you if your computer or phone screen is backlit LED.
Right now, you’ll only find the OLED screens in the more premium devices. But on those displays, the black pixels don’t cast any light, whereas an LED screen does.
If you’re willing to pay more than $1000 for your phone, you’ll get more done by using dark mode, as you won’t be charging your phone up as often. There aren’t as many computers offered with OLED, but if you find one, that, of course, can also increase your productivity.
Easier to Stay Focused
Apple made the claim when it introduced dark mode on macOS that it would help you focus. However, there simply is no data to support this. While Apple stated that it would, they never showed why it would or offered any evidence of how it did.
It does help me focus because I don’t have the strain on my eyes. The image above is on the Bear writing app in a side-by-side with the MindNode mind-mapping app while I was writing this article. It’s so much easier on my eyes. So I use dark mode throughout the day and night.
This leads to the belief that it will be easier to stay focused if dark mode is helpful to you. Additionally, that’s how it should be viewed as a potential aid for productivity. It definitely can be.
But you may be of the camp to not like it. If that’s the case, just erase the questions of whether dark mode will help your productivity. It never will if you’re trying to force the issue. But if you like it, enjoy it and get more done!
As an added bonus, use the Pomodoro method for frequent breaks away from the screen altogether to increase your productivity even more.