iDevices lead to poor sleep

What's keeping you up at night?

For many people, it's a sleep disorder such as insomnia. But for millions of others, it's a different type of disorder completely that's disrupting their sleep cycles.

I call it iPad-nia.

Lighting in general can disrupt production of melatonin, the hormone we need for proper sleep cycles. But new research shows how the LED lights used in electronics such as iPads and iPhones and such are even more disruptive than ordinary light.

These lights fool your body into thinking it is daytime -- and when your body thinks it's daytime, it doesn't start up the melatonin factory.

The result: You can't sleep, no matter what time it is.

These days, many people unknowingly make the situation worse by bringing the iPad -- or some other similar device -- right into bed for late night-email or reading. Then, when they can't get to sleep, they do even more email and reading -- making the problem even worse.

The issue isn't just the iPad, of course. And it's not even LED lights -- they may be the worst of it, according to the report in Nature, but constant exposure to artificial lights of any kind can also disrupt melatonin production and sleep cycles.

That's not just bad news for bedtime. Melatonin is also essential for protection from the free radicals responsible for the damage of aging and it's critical to the immune system, where it can help protect you from diseases such as cancer.

If you're not getting the sleep you need each night, maybe it's time to enforce a lights-out policy in your home past a certain time. And if that doesn't help, look for other lifestyle issues that may be keeping you up -- including caffeine from drinks like soda and coffee as well as foods such as chocolate.

You'll even find caffeine hidden in some painkillers.

If that's not enough to put you to bed, then you may have something else going on -- a nutritional issue or hormonal imbalance that can be corrected naturally. I recommend a holistic physician for helping getting your sleep cycles back on track.