The soothing activity that’s keeping you up
You’ve cut off coffee after your morning cup.
You’ve sworn off snacking after an early dinner.
Maybe you’ve even been finishing the day with some light exercise and shutting off the television a couple of hours before bedtime.
So why then are you still tossing and turning at night, unable to get a good night’s sleep?
It could be because you’re taking your favorite book to bed to unwind. That is, if you’re reading that book on a tablet or e-reader.
Scientists at the Lighting Research Center recently found that two hours of reading on an electronic device with a “backlit” display causes suppression of melatonin by up to 22 percent!
If you’re doing that reading before bed, it could be disrupting your sleep by messing with your circadian system. That’s the body system that controls your sleeping and waking cycle.
And that’s not even the worst of it. When your melatonin levels are suppressed for too long you might also be at an increased risk for diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
The researchers are hoping that their findings will result in manufacturers designing devices that are more “circadian friendly.” They envision devices that reduce circadian stimulation in the evening to help you sleep, and increase the stimulation in the daytime to make you feel more alert.
The researchers did find that melatonin was not greatly affected with one hour of device exposure. So if you’re just catching up on one chapter or reading a couple of emails, don’t worry. But if you’re settling in for a longer reading session before bed, you might want to consider picking up a paperback instead.
P.S. If turning off your tablet or e-reader isn’t helping you get a full night’s rest, you might need a little extra help. Even occasional sleep problems can do serious damage to your health. Click here to learn how you could get the innovative sleep solution from our affiliates at The Douglass Report.
“Light from Self-Luminous Tablet Computers Can Affect Evening Melatonin, Delaying Sleep,” Science Daily (sciencedaily.com)