Dear Lifehacker, I am 18 and I have developed a bad habit of staying up late. I'm looking to get out of it and I was wondering if there was a program out there that would dim the screen so the bright screen and lights wouldn't keep me up all night? Yours sincerely, Can't Sleep
Picture by montanaraven
Dear Can't Sleep,
When I was 18 (quite a long time ago), my big challenge was getting out of bed rather than getting to sleep in the first place. Even allowing for my aged brain and differing issues, your query is a tad confusing: if the only reason you stay up late is because there's a PC switched on in the corner of the bedroom, then software isn't really going to help, I fear.
But presuming there's a reason you leave your PC running all night (Channel BT, anyone?), then there's plenty of rather obvious ways to stop the screen being a distraction. If it's a desktop, then you could switch the monitor off. If there's a glowing light somewhere on the console, then whack a book in front of it or cover it with tape.
On a notebook machine, the simplest option is to set your PC's power plan to automatically blank the screen after a set period of time. On a Windows Vista or 7 machine, search for power options to find the relevant settings for this (they're often weirdly altered by the manufacturer so providing specific instructions is a bit pointless without knowing the model).
If you like playing music to send you to sleep, then Sweet Dreams could also be a useful option. Regular sleep habits are definitely a boon, but at 18 you're going to bounce back a lot better from the odd night of less-than-optimal nap time than ageing tech hacks.
Yours in pyjamas already, Lifehacker