Backlights Before Bed – A No No?

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If you are like me bedtime means check the email once more, maybe play a game or read on a tablet. But it typically involves an electronic device. Researchers at Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute produced a report stating that…yep, electronic light before bed negatively impacts our sleep. Probably not a total shocker, but the logic as to why is interesting.

Melatonin, the hormone that occurs naturally in all of us, regulates our waking and sleeping patterns. Light leads to a decrease in melatonin – meaning it is time to be awake. Conversely darkness elevates our melatonin levels which makes us sleepy. Back in the caveman days when the sun went down, melatonin levels went up and they slept through the night. With the invention of fire and electric light our patterns began to change. Basically, light is robbing us of natural darkness meaning less melatonin and less desire to fall sleep.

So what is a technology guru supposed to do? The study states that exposure to backlit devices 2 hours before bed would impact melatonin production. If you must use your device they recommend dimming them. Let’s face it. The logic is there. So challenge yourself and those in your life. And for the children? Better stop them a couple hours before bed and give them a fighting chance at a good night’s rest.

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