Do you like to unwind before bed with the latest bestselling book? Make sure it’s the dead-tree version. Recent studies have shown that tablets, laptops, e-readers and other electronic devices impact sleep negatively.
Harvard Medical School researchers looked at reading paper books and light-emitting e-readers before sleep. It seems the traditional method was vastly superior in terms of shuteye.
When subjects read with a back-lit e-reading device, they found it harder to fall asleep. And the consequences of this poor sleep weren’t hard to verify. The e-readers showed sluggishness and poor energy levels the next day.
In contrast, those reading traditional books showed no significant changes from their regular sleep patterns.
Why do the back-lit devices cause such disturbances? Researchers concluded that the devices disrupt the human body’s natural circadian rhythm. Once the sun sets, the body is ready for sleep. Reading from an iPad, laptop or Kindle Fire caused the sleep subjects to experience what essentially amounted to a “sunrise effect,” which impacts sleep factors such as hormone levels, light exposure and more.
Lead researcher Prof Charles Czeisler told the BBC News website: “The light emitted by most e-readers is shining directly into the eyes of the reader, whereas from a printed book or the original Kindle, the reader is only exposed to reflected light from the pages of the book.”
He also said the lack of sleep has profound health consequences – all of which are bad. “Sleep deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, and cancer. Thus, the melatonin suppression that we saw in this study among participants when they were reading from the light-emitting e-reader concerns us.”
It seems the light-emitting devices should be avoided. But what about the original Kindle readers? Since they don’t product light, experts said they’re fine to use.
Sleep deficiency has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases (obesity and diabetes, for example) and cancer. Limiting light exposure can help in this regard, and so can a supportive mattress. Sit ‘N Sleep, Southern California’s leading sleep center, offers a superior selection of mattresses for everyone.
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