It’s not necessarily new information, as we’ve been talking about it since the iPad made surfing the web in bed easier, but a new study is providing more ammunition to us in our battle against “screen” use right before bedtime.
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute showed that exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle.
In the study, published in the journal Applied Ergonomics, the researchers had volunteers read, play games and watch movies on a tablet for various amounts of time while measuring the amount of light their eyes received. They found that two hours of exposure to a bright tablet screen at night reduced melatonin levels by about 22-percent.
Other studies using computers rather than tablets have found similar results, and flat panel TVs use the same technology as newer computer monitors.
In the end, the best policy is to turn off all technology at least a little before bedtime. Instead of surfing or watching TV, reading a book or listening to calm music will help you get the best night’s sleep.