At Boston Center for Oral Health, we understand the impact that electronic devices have on our overall quality of life. Handheld devices have literally become extensions of our hands, especially our adolescent and teenage children. The following article is a MUST READ for any household with school aged children. Sleep disruption caused by the use of handheld devices in bed has a profound impact.
Original article | New York Times
When a person used an iPad instead of reading print before bedtime, he or she had a later sleep onset and suppressed levels of melatonin.
Bedtime reading with a tablet or smartphone can interfere with a good night’s sleep, some studies and many anecdotal reports suggest. Now researchers have conducted a small experiment to test the idea.
Scientists had nine people spend 10 nights in a sleep laboratory. For five consecutive nights, they read before sleep with an iPad; then they read print for five nights. In both scenarios, they read in a dimly lit room until they felt ready to go to sleep.
The experiment, described in Physiological Reports, found that when people used iPads instead of reading print, they selected a later bedtime and had a later sleep onset. They also had suppressed levels of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep, and delayed time to melatonin secretion. Periods of REM sleep — the rapid eye movements of the dreaming stage of sleep — were reduced when they used the iPad rather than printed material.
The volunteers also reported feeling less sleepy in the evening, and less alert in the morning after using the electronic device.
“These devices are not benign,” said a co-author of the study, Jeanne F. Duffy, a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “They have biological effects on us. They can be bad for adults, but really bad for kids and adolescents who already don’t get enough sleep.”