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Sleep Loss by Tablets

by on December 23, 2014
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Sleep Loss

Everyone loves sleep, and very few want that sleep to be disturbed or broken. Another thing that most everyone loves is using their tablet or e-reader right before bedtime in order to get those last few chapters or gameplay moves in before sleep takes over. However, using these and other screen-based technologies can affect your sleep and cause sleep loss.

A two week long sleep study was done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, on the effects that e-readers and other light-emitting technologies can have on a person’s sleep. Electronic devices often emit a special kind of light, known as blue light, that is far more harsh on the eyes than natural light is. The study was done by having twelve volunteers read on an e-reader for a set amount of time before bed. These twelve participants were allowed to rotate each night from paper reading to e-reader reading. Their reading material could be whatever they wanted as long as it was strictly text, no games or mass amounts of images included.

Sleep is important for everyone!

Sleep is important for everyone!

The results showed that when participants were reading on an e-reader, they experienced less REM sleep than when they were reading from a printed source. It also showed that on the nights that e-readers were being used, it took roughly ten minutes longer for participants to fall asleep than their paper-reading counterparts. The research also revealed that melatonin levels dropped when an e-reader was used for nightly reading and that participants were more tired in the mornings after reading from an e-reader as well.

Ultimately, it was decided that e-reader use before bedtime can not only cause sleep loss, but it can drastically effect the quality of the sleep. If you’re the kind of person who enjoys reading before bed, try reading from a printed book instead. Since many video game systems emit the same kind of blue light, the same sleep loss problems can arise from late night game playing as well.


by Jen Galik

Edited by: Avery Osborn

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