e-letter from "Healthier Talk" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
June 3, 2010
Like to read before bed? The habit could be causing you to lose out on good quality sleep. Well, if you’re doing that reading on a laptop, smartphone, or iPad that is.
Seems that today’s portable electronic devices may be causing a modern day sleep-crisis of sorts.
The bright lights from these devices can fool your brain into thinking it’s daytime. And some sleep researchers believe being exposed to them close to bedtime can upset your internal clock (also know as a circadian rhythm) leading to poor quality sleep and insomnia.
Unlike the light from a bedside lamp, which bounces off a book or magazine we are reading before entering our eyes, the light emitted from these devices shines directly into them at a close distance.
And since our bodies are unable to tell the difference between bright artificial light and sunshine, the light receptors in our eyes tell our brain it’s time to be awake.
When your brain gets the “awake” message it stops secreting the hormone melatonin that helps you relax and feel sleepy. So we’re left tossing and turning. And we wake up sleep deprived in the morning and more susceptible to developing everything from diabetes to heart disease.
So what’s a modern reader to do?
Limit your laptop, smartphone, or iPad reading to 1 to 2 hours before going to sleep. Or switch to a non-backlit e-book reader like the Kindle or Nook for bedtime reading.
The simplest solution? Pick up a good old-fashioned book instead. You don’t need to charge its batteries and you can fall asleep reading and not have to worry about turning it off.