Unveiled in a new study is the fact that reading eBooks from laptops, tablets, and cell phones prior to bedtime has an impact on the ability to fall asleep. Anne-Marie Chang, co-author and bio behavioral health professor with Penn State explains that the study consisted of 12 adults who for two weeks were monitored at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
As part of the study, which was published in the recent journal of “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”, heart rate and brain waves were carefully monitored and blood samples of the participants drawn. For a period of five days, each individual read paperback or hardcover books and then for another five-day period read eBooks on an iPad.
Throughout these timeframes blood was taken periodically, which showed that melatonin production was lower in the people who read eBooks. Researchers also discovered the amount of time it took for these same individuals to fall asleep was much longer.
As reported by Professor Chang, short wavelength enriched light is emitted from laptops, tablets, and cell phones that when compared to natural light, have a greater concentration of blue light.
Of the participants who read eBooks on a computer or tablet prior to bedtime, REM sleep periods were also shorter. REM, which is deep sleep needed for the body to rest and recover is imperative so when someone does not get enough REM, learning and memory capabilities could be affected.
Professor Chang went on to say that researchers were aware that sleep and alertness, as well as circadian rhythms, are affected by evening light but what they wanted to confirm was whether light emitted from laptops, tablets, and cell phones prior to bed would product the same outcome.
After uncovering the findings of this study, Chang along with her colleagues strongly recommend that people interested in reading before going to bed should choose a conventional hardback or paperback book or a laptop, tablet, or cell phone that does not emit light.