Many people enjoy a good book before going to bed. Some enjoy the news, some enjoy a game and some just enjoy a story. With so much available on tablets and laptops, all from the comfort of your own bed or couch, it’s no wonder that many can be found on devices when the sun goes down.
Is it all that good though?
Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital released a study they conducted with subjects and electronic readers. You can find it here:
During a two week period, subjects read on an iPad for 4 hours before bed. When I initially read this I thought, “Man that is a long time” but then realized that I have been on the computer for several hours before bed and while it doesn’t happen every night, it does happen.
According to the study participants on the iPad, “took longer to fall asleep, were less sleepy in the evening, and spent less time in REM sleep.”
Less REM sleep is no bueno. Also from the study, “Participants who read from the iPad were less sleepy before bedtime, but sleepier and less alert the following morning after eight hours of sleep.” They also stated that this type of light is emitted can come from just about any electronic device including phones, computer screens etc. It is the blue light causing the problem.
Lack of good sleep can increase chance of sickness like the flu and common cold by decreasing the strength of the immune system. It also contributes to cardiovascular disease and just makes life plain miserable if left unchecked.
One software maker, f.lux, has compiled a list of studies that you can visit for yourself if you want to see the effects of blue light on people. You can find it here:
f.lux is a program that lowers the amount of blue light coming off a screen and makes everything appear warmer, or with more reds.
Another thing a person could do is snag a pair of orange glasses that filter out the blue light. Here is such a pair:
The other option is just turn off screens at night. I know personally getting on screens anymore than what I do at work contributes to eye strain and gives me headaches. Some of these headaches can last a few days if I don’t peel my eyes from the screen.
The most common sense answer is stop looking at screens late at night. Reading an actual book seems like a better alternative or dare I say actually go to bed. I know too often I stay up wasting time on things that don’t need time wasted on and if I find myself doing that I try to turn it off and sleep. Falling asleep on the couch or computer chair isn’t as comfortable as my bed anyway.