Using Electronic Devices Decreases Sleep Quality

In the modern age, we love our technology. Everything has a screen, it all plugs in and goes online, and it provides us stimulation previous generations couldn’t even dream of. But all that content, and the attention we give it, can affect our sleeping patterns. Beyond even the mental activity that can trick us into staying awake longer, so too can the characteristic blue light that most modern electronic displays emit play upon our disrupted sleep. Worse, that disruption can turn into a dysfunction of sleep.

A recent study out of the University of Houston investigated the effects of these lighting conditions we so often expose ourselves to, even right before bedtime. The study looked at participants up to middle age, as old as forty-two years of age. They were given special glasses that block certain wavelengths of light, and wore them for two weeks starting three hours prior to bedtime. In the participants, their melatonin levels rose nearly sixty percent. Melatonin is a hormone the body naturally produces that affects, among other things, sleep and sleep cycle. The finding confirms that light plays a key role in how the brain orders the body into a normal sleep cycle. And how changing light patterns can disrupt that cycle.

Key Points:

  • 1A University of Houston study shows that blue lights from electronics may contribute to sleep dysfunction.
  • 2Blue light increases alertness and interferes with the body’s biological clock, leading to decreased sleep quality when used at night.
  • 3Wearing glasses with blue-light blocking lenses when using electronics at night can improve sleep quality.

The study participants were aged between 17 and 42 years, each of whom more special short wavelength-blocking glasses for two weeks. They put them on three hours before bed and performed all their usual nightly digital routines.

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