When a person used an iPad instead of reading print before bedtime, he or she had a later sleep onset and suppressed levels of melatonin.
May 23, 2018May 23, 2018Image
Bedtime reading with a tablet or smartphone can interfere with a good night’s sleep, some studies and many anecdotal reports suggest. Now researchers have conducted a small experiment to test the idea.
Scientists had nine people spend 10 nights in a sleep laboratory. For five consecutive nights, they read before sleep with an iPad; then they read print for five nights. In both scenarios, they read in a dimly lit room until they felt ready to go to sleep.
The experiment, described in Physiological Reports, found that when people used iPads instead of reading print, they selected a later bedtime and had a later sleep onset. They also had suppressed levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, and delayed time to melatonin secretion. Periods of REM sleep — the rapid eye movements of the dreaming stage of sleep — were reduced when they used the iPad rather than printed material.
The volunteers also reported feeling less sleepy in the evening, and less alert in the morning after using the electronic device.
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