Evening use of light-emitting tablets may disrupt healthy sleep

More evidence that light-emitting electronic devices have biological effects.

Two kids using tablet pc under blanket at night.
Image: Shutterstock

Consumer electronic devices play an important role in modern society. Technological advancements continually improve their utility and portability, making possible the near‐constant use of electronic devices during waking hours. For most people, this includes the evening hours close to bedtime.

A new study published in the journal Psychological Journal, evening use of light-emitting tablets can induce delays in the desired bedtime. As a result, it conceals the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness, and impair next-morning alertness.

Scientists volunteered 9 healthy participants looking at 5 continuous nights of unrestricted utilization of light-transmitting tablet computers versus evening reading from printed materials.

On nights when utilizing light-emitting tablets, members’ self-chosen sleep times, were on average half an hour later, and they showed suppressed melatonin levels. As result, were on average half an hour later, and they showed suppressed melatonin levels.

When utilizing the tablets, members evaluated themselves as less sleepy in the evenings and less alert in the first hour after awakening on the following mornings.

Dr. Jeanne Duffy, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said, “These findings provide more evidence that light-emitting electronic devices have biological effects. Using light-emitting electronic devices in the late evening can postpone our decision to go to sleep, and make us more sleepy the next morning.”

YOU'LL ALSO LIKE