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Why do smart phones effect sleep?

12-03-2012

Now days we are surrounding by an ever increasing array of technological devices, from smart phones to e-readers, but while these devices have made are lives easier in so many different ways, they are also having a number of negative effects which we are only just becoming aware of.

One of these negative effects is on our sleep. Increasingly, we are lying in bed using these electronic devices rather than reading an old fashioned paper book. In fact, a recent survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that 95% of people were using an electronic device within an hour of going to bed.

The problem with this are various. First, and most serious, is that the screens on these devices are backlit and produce quite high levels of light. This light stops the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. Melatonin is produced when you are in darkness and the longer you look at the screen, the greater the inhibition on its production.

Another problem is that these devices, unlike the book, bring the rest of the world into our bedroom, including our work life. This means it is increasingly hard to detach from the outside world so that we can relax and fall asleep.

While we are certainly not recommending you stop using your electronic device at night, it might be a good idea to regulate its use.


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