(NaturalNews) It’s not uncommon for people to read just before going to sleep, sometimes even enjoying such downtime from the comfort of their own bed. However, if that reading material is in the form of a light-emitting e-reader book (LE-eBook) rather than a printed book, it can be detrimental to overall health.
The finding comes from researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) who examined the relationship between participants’ before-bedtime reading habits (electronic versus a printed book) and resulting health consequences.
“We found the body’s natural circadian rhythms were interrupted by the short-wavelength enriched light, otherwise known as blue light, from these electronic devices,” said Anne-Marie Chang, PhD, corresponding author of the study which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. “Participants reading an LE-eBook took longer to fall asleep and had reduced evening sleepiness, reduced melatonin secretion, later timing of their circadian clock and reduced next-morning alertness than when reading a printed book.” Chang is also an associate neuroscientist in BWH’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.(1)
What happens when people use their laptops and cell phones before bedtime
For the study, a group of participants read LE-eBooks on an iPad four hours every night for five nights in a row. The researchers also analyzed the impact of other kinds of blue-light-emitting electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones and laptops. The process was also analyzed with printed books.
It was found that those who read the iPad not only took longer to fall asleep but also didn’t remain in REM sleep as long as they should and that they also had reduced melatonin secretion, which is an important hormone to help sleepiness occur.
Additionally, those who read such electronic devices before going to sleep had delayed circadian rhythms which were found to be off by more than an hour. Finally, while people who read this way felt less sleepy before going to bed, they reported feeling less alert and more tired the next morning — even after receiving eight hours of sleep.