How your iPad could be ruining your sleep

Picture it: back in the days before electricity…when nights at home were lit by candles…the streets were pitch black…and the sky was dark enough to see every single star.

None of us are old probably enough to remember a time before the light bulb. But at some point, electricity went from being a convenience to a necessity.

And when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, all that light can be a downright nuisance.

Our bodies were designed to respond to the cues of light and dark to trigger the hormones that help us sleep at night (like melatonin) and wake up in the morning.

But now, from the lamps in your home…to the lights on the street…to the glowing screens of your TV, computer, and smartphone…your body never really knows when to turn itself “off” anymore.

One new study finds that reading on an iPad before bed even for just one night can change the very nature of how you sleep. Just 30 minutes on an iPad before you turn out the lights can delay deep sleep.

That’s one of the most important parts of the night – the “slow wave” sleep that gives the cells of your body a chance to rejuvenate.

Now, according to the study, that one-time, short-term iPad use didn’t make it harder to actually FALL asleep. But night after night, I’m sure the regular use of electronic devices will have an impact on both how long you STAY asleep and how WELL you sleep.

It’s not just the fact that it’s bright in the room – it’s the actually COLOR of the light, too. Electronics, especially tablets such as the iPad, are heavy in the blue wavelengths of light that the body uses to trigger the release of the hormones that help us wake up.

And a second new study finds that study finds that extreme light exposure can lead to metabolic disturbances, too – causing you to eat at the wrong times.

Think of those late-night snacks… or even midnight meals. Your body thinks it’s time to go, go, go when it’s really time to GO TO SLEEP.

The researchers say that could be why folks awash in light at night – people who live in urban areas with lights so bright they can be seen from space – are more likely to be obese than folks who don’t.

Obviously, we can’t go back to living in caves. And of course we need a little light at night.

But at the same time, it’s important to limit your exposure to excessive sources of light at night – especially the lights of TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones.

About an hour or so before bed, turn everything off except the room lights. If you find that reading helps you fall asleep, do it the old-fashioned way: with a book printed on paper.