How your smartphone or tablet may be affecting your sleep


smartphones and tablet affect sleepHave you been having trouble sleeping lately?

If so, your last cup of coffee may not be to blame.

Instead, your smartphone or tablet may be the cause of your sleeping problems.

Researchers at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, found that two or more hours of exposure to technology devices suppresses melatonin.

Melatonin is the chemical that controls our body clock, and vital for a good night’s sleep.

The researchers believe that teens are particularly susceptible to the problem.

The Research results

The research, led by Mariana Figueiro, director of the LRC’s Light and Health Program, tested the effects of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression.

13 individuals used self-luminous tablets to read, play games, and watch movies.

The interest part is that melatonin suppression was not seen after 60 minutes , however, after a two-hour exposure there was significant suppression.

“Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22%,” Figueiro says in a statement.

Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime.

We recommended dimming these devices at night as much as possible in order to minimize melatonin suppression, and limiting the amount of time spent using these devices prior to bedtime.”

The researchers believe the revelations of their study could lead to new gadgets and screens that  help promote sleep, instead of hinder it.

“In the future, manufacturers might be able to use data and predictive models to design tablets for tailored daytime light exposures that minimize symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, and sleep disorders in seniors,” the researchers wrote.

Although the study was carried out on only a very small number of participants, I can see how using artificially lighted devices would affect our sleep.

Do you think your smartphone or tablet is causing you to lose sleep?



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