How an iPad can be bad for sleep


The modern age we live in is full of new and incredible gadgets and devices, these are devices that not only make our lives richer and more exciting but can also help us in a variety of ways, from education to business, from socialising to living better. The iPad is a revolutionary device, one that has changed the way we interact with digital devices, providing an easy to use hi-def computer touch screen. It really is an incredible piece of equipment, but what if we told you it can be bad for you.

The iPad. Millions of units have been sold around the world. For many it has replaced their book. Instead of having to go to the library or book store you can simply go online, downloading books until your heart is content. Whereas in the past most of us would head to bed with a book under our arm more and more of us are now snuggling up with our iPads, browsing through websites, reading articles, doing online shopping and, yes, reading novels. However, while reading on the iPad may be more convenient and definitely gives you more choice of content, there is a worrying side to this trend. Exposure to bright light late at night is harmful.

There is growing evidence from numerous scientific studies that the night time use of portable digital devices such as the iPad are likely to compound the problems associated with artificial lighting. When electric lighting was introduced it caused a massive change in the day night patterns of people. Whereas in the past people were more likely to go to bed as the sun went down and get up as it rose afterwards people begin going to bed much later at night. This had a number of changes on our circadian rhythms and many experts believe that is part of the blame for the widespread sleep disorders that we suffer today.

The body clock is our internal time keeper that triggers the various hormones that make us tired at night and wake us up in the morning. It has evolved over many millions of years to synchronise using light. That means artificial light plays havoc with it. If you expose yourself to light late at night then you are disturbing your body clock, telling it that it is day time.  Most disruptive to the body clock is short wavelength blue light which is exactly what backlit portable screens shine directly into the eyes.

In other words, as you are lying in bed at night reading your iPad the backlit screen is telling your body clock that it is actually day time. This throws the body clock off and can cause or exacerbate a range of different sleep disorders. Experts advice that you do not use any backlit screen for several hours before bed time and that you minimise the use of these devices in bed.


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