Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Wellness and Personal Development
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Facebook Posts May Hint at DepressionHere's Something to Sleep OnDrowsy Driving as Risky as Drunk DrivingScience Says 'Hug It Out'What's Your Savings Personality?Scientists Developing Blood Test for Drowsy DrivingRegular Bedtime Might Be Key to Better Health'Liking Gap' Might Stand in Way of New FriendshipsWhich of the 4 New 'Personality Types' Are You?Slaying the Couch-Potato MindsetScientists Finally Get Around to Finding Procrastination's Home in the BrainFor a Healthier Heart, Stick to 6 to 8 Hours of SleepTake a Vacation, Your Heart Will Thank YouTaking a Stand at WorkCellphone Use Puts Pedestrians Off-BalanceSleep Deprivation May Play Role in 'Global Loneliness Epidemic'Dining Out With Smartphones Isn't AppetizingExercise Really Can Chase Away the Blues … to a PointSnap, Polish, Post: Why Selfies May Be Bad for Your HealthHealth Tip: Have a Safer SummerShield Yourself From the Summer SunIt's Hot Outside: How to Stay Safe When Thermometers Rise3-Pronged Approach to Cancer PreventionYour Sunscreen May Not Be as Protective as You ThinkAlmost 1,300 Genes Seem Tied to Academic SuccessGreen Spaces a Mental Balm for City DwellersYour Earliest Memories May Be FalseDoes Dirty Air Cancel Out the Benefits of Exercise?Health Tip: Map Your Way to Better HealthGreen Space: A Gateway to Better Health?How to Use Sunscreens the Right WayWant a Meaningful Conversation? Cut the Small TalkDrinking and Driving: A Deadly July 4 CocktailHealth Tip: Have a Fun and Safe VacationBeat the Heat on Your Summer VacationSitting Tied to Raised Risk of Death From 14 DiseasesHot Cars, Drowning: Keep Your Family Safe This SummerJust 1 in 4 Americans Gets Enough ExerciseHow Much Drinking Is Healthy -- or Not?America's Poor Are Less Happy Than Ever: StudyBeach, Boating and Booze Add Up to Summer InjuriesThe Water's Great. Just Don't Overlook Safety.Strategies to Avoid SunburnHealth Tips for Summer FunAHA: We All Need Water for a Healthy Life, But How Much?Health Tip: Understanding Sunscreen LingoSnubbed on Social Media? Your Depression Risk May Rise'Face-Aging' Photos Convince Tanners to Shun the SunHealth Tip: Stay Fit at WorkHealth Tip: 5 Habits That Could Help You Live Longer
LinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Smoking
Anger Management
Stress Reduction and Management
Exercise
Emotional Resilience

Leave Tablets, Smartphones Out of the Bedroom for Better Sleep

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: May 25th 2018

new article illustration

FRIDAY, May 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Are tablets, smartphones and laptops robbing Americans of shut-eye? Absolutely, said researchers who found that the unending entertainments and the light the devices emit are a powerful, slumber-killing combo.

The finding comes from a small analysis of nine otherwise healthy adults in their 20s. Their sleep was tracked after five straight nights of unrestricted tablet use, and then compared to their sleep patterns after reading printed materials alone.

It wasn't just that light from electronic devices suppressed their secretion of melatonin, the sleep-regulating hormone, study author Jeanne Duffy said. Researchers expected that based on other studies.

"What was new was that participants [who used electronic devices] would choose to go to bed significantly later, even though they knew they had to wake up at 6 a.m.," Duffy said.

But exactly how a tablet's glow interferes with sleep remains unclear. Duffy, a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, suggested there could be several possible explanations.

For one, she noted, the human body's 24-hour circadian clock is "very sensitive" to the blue light that electronic devices give off. Or it might be the brightness: People tend to hold screens close to their face, filling their visual field with light.

"It could be that the participants were living in our lab for the entire study and not getting bright outdoor light so, relatively, the screen light was quite bright," Duffy added. "We want to do future studies to tease apart those effects."

The experiment took place in a sleep lab where light and sound pollution were kept to a minimum. For five nights, participants chose whether to use their electronic devices for reading, emailing, browsing the internet, playing games or watching videos. They also chose when to finally go to sleep, knowing that they had to be up at a specific time the next morning.

During a separate five-day period, the study participants were allowed to read only printed books, magazines or newspapers, though the content choice was theirs.

In both situations, the setting was dimly (and similarly) lit, until participants chose to go to bed, at which time the lights were turned off.

The researchers found that tablet users were less sleepy at bedtime and less alert during the first hour after awakening, compared with print readers.

Tablet users' bodies waited longer at night to produce melatonin, and they fell asleep, on average, 30 minutes later than print readers, the findings showed.

So what are fans of device-based bedtime reading to do?

Apart from switching to printed material, there's no simple answer, Duffy said.

"Turning down the screen brightness ought to help, but we don't know how much," she said. "Using a program to change the screen output or using a filter may help, (but) again we don't know how much. And spending a lot of time outdoors during the day should help, but it has to be the day you're using the screen in bed, not the day after."

Duffy said these strategies need to be tested in a lab setting so scientists can understand whether -- and how -- they work.

Dr. Nathaniel Watson is a professor of neurology with the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle, and past-president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

His prescription?

"There is no substitute for sleep. Put down the electronics and wind down in the evening before heading off to bed for the best night's sleep possible," Watson advised.

The report was published online May 22 in Psychological Reports.

More information

Find out how to get a good night's sleep from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.