Do Electronics Prevent Quality Sleep?

Do Electronics Prevent Quality Sleep?

Researches believe that too much exposure to artificial light from computers and gadgets at night can impact sleep quality.

Dan Gould
  • 18 may 2010

There are a growing number of researchers who believe that too much nighttime exposure to artificial light, including electronics such as laptops, mobile phones and iPads can contribute to insomnia and a decreased quality of sleep.

It’s reported that these types of lights may make our brains think that it’s daytime.

CNN explains:

“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology.

“And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”

…When receptors in our eyes are hit with bright light for an extended period of time, they send a message to the brain saying it’s time to be awake. The brain, in turn, stops secreting a hormone called melatonin, which makes people sleepy and helps regulate the internal sleep clock.

Normally, our brains start giving us that hormonal sleep aid at about 9 or 10 p.m. But if bright lights are shining in our eyes, that may not happen as planned. That’s what worries some sleep researchers.

Even more concerning is that we’re extra sensitive to blue light, which is emitted in large quantities by computer screens. Fortunately, if you have to use a lot of gadgets after dark, there are programs such as F.lux, which will drop out blue from electronics displays when the sun starts going down.

CNN: “Trouble sleeping? Maybe it’s your iPad”


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