If you’ve decided to invest in a shiny new tablet or e-reader, you’ve already found out that these mobile devices can be very convenient for avid readers. You save money when you buy books; you waste less paper; and you can instantly download and rent electronic books no matter where you are. Many people have begun using these devices simply because they are just so convenient.
But if you have a habit of reading before going to bed, it’s important to realize that a tablet or e-reader might be interfering with your ability to sleep at night.
One specific type of light called “blue light” is to blame for this, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Blue light is emitted from certain electronic devices with digital screens, and the most common culprits here are laptops, cellphones (especially smartphones), and tablets. Blue light is an artificial light, but it mimics the effects of natural sunlight, specifically regarding the production of melatonin. Melatonin is often called “the sleep hormone” and your body naturally produces melatonin when it starts to get dark outside, and this makes you sleepy. When the sun rises in the morning, it’s a signal to your body to stop producing melatonin so that you can wake up.
The problem with your tablet is that when you stare at the screen for an extended length of time, the blue light causes your body to cease the production of melatonin. When you put down your e-book and go to bed, you’re more likely to find that your brain is awake rather than calm and ready to sleep!
The answer to this problem is pretty simple: Even though an e-reader or tablet can be very convenient, it’s best to read good ol’ fashioned paper books before going to bed. And while you’re at it, make sure that you’re creating an overall good environment for your body to relax at night. Make sure that the lights are turned down, the temperature is at a comfortable and cool setting, and turn on a white noise machine to block out interruptions. There are so many ways that you can make your bedtime routine just a little more relaxing!