A new study undertaken by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, has investigated the effects of reading from electronic screens in bed before you go to sleep.
It’s common knowledge that staring into a screen just before bed is going to affect your sleeping, but are the consequences more serious than that? This research suggests they are.
The study required participants to spend four hours reading from either a real book or an iPad screen, for five consecutive nights, just before going to bed.
The iPad readers were found to take longer to fall asleep, and feel less sleepy, secreted less melatonin, and were less alert in the morning – despite having the same amount of sleep as the book readers.
Melatonin is a hormone which plays a large role in determining when you get sleepy, and previous research has shown that it is supressed by blue light emitted by devices. This is why the iPad readers’ sleeping patterns were altered.
Having less sleep, or poor quality sleep, has been linked to many health problems such as diabetes and obesity. The researchers also stated that recent evidence has linked chronic melatonin suppression to an increased risk of developing cancer.
Although the test was carried out on iPads, the researchers noted that smartphones, laptops and computer monitors all emit blue light.
Do you use technology in bed? And will you continue to do so after reading this?
Read more on Huffington Post.
Read the study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
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