Why you should avoid electronic screens before bedtime

Why you should avoid electronic screens before bedtime

Cell phones have become an integral part of our society. They are a great way of staying in touch with our loved ones and being more efficient in our work and day-to-day tasks.

However, overuse of mobile phones has shown negative health effects, including affecting brain structure and even killing sperm. Let’s take a look at why you should avoid electronic screens before bedtime.

New research from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston shows that reading from an iPad before sleeping makes it harder to fall asleep, and also affects your alertness the next day.

The new study confirms previous research from older studies, which have also shown the detrimental effects of electronic screens on sleep.

We know from previous work that light from screens in the evening alters sleepiness and alertness, and suppresses melatonin levels,” Dr. Anne-Marie Chang, an associate neuroscientist in BWH’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders who was a co-author on the study, told The Huffington Post via email. “This study shows comprehensive results of a direct comparison between reading with a light-emitting device and reading a printed book and the consequences on sleep.”

The study lasted for two weeks and included 12 participants who read on an iPad for four hours before going to bed. They also alternated with a printed book.

The researchers found that the iPad readers took longer to fall asleep, felt less sleepy at night, and had shorter REM sleepers when compared to those who read printed books. The iPad readers produced less melatonin, which is a hormone that regulates sleep. The iPad group was also more tired the next day than the book readers.

The best recommendation (although not the most popular) would be to avoid use of light-emitting screens before bedtime,” Dr. Chang told HuffPost. “For those who must use computers or other light-emitting devices in the evening, software or other technology that filters out the blue light may help.”

One app that experts recommend is F.lux, which helps filter out blue light and makes screens warmer, so they affect sleep less.

The study showing why you should avoid electronic screens before bedtime was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Note: None of the information in our website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. The content on our website is for educational purposes only.

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REFERENCES:
1. “EEG Changes Due to Experimentally Induced 3G Mobile Phone Radiation.” PLoS ONE. Public Library of Science, 08 June 2015. Web. 25 Dec. 2015.
2. “Reading On A Screen Before Bed Might Be Killing You.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2015.
3. “Light-Emitting E-Readers Before Bedtime Can Adversely Impact Sleep.” Brigham And Women’s Hospital. Brigham And Women’s Hospital, n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2015.
4. “Smartphone Use At Night Hurts Sleep And Workplace Productivity: Study.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2015.
5. “Evening Use of Light-emitting EReaders Negatively Affects Sleep, Circadian Timing, and Next-morning Alertness.” PNAS.org. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, n.d. Web. 25 Dec. 2015.

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