You'll Sleep Better if You Stop Staring at a Screen Before Bedtime

By Gary Cutlack on at

If you spend most of your nights awake, restlessly worrying about it you have any new followers or mentally composing witty Facebook status updates in your head, you might want to start switching off your screens and gadgets well before bed and giving your brain a rest.

Research from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has found that staring at bright, backlit screens can have a negative effect on the amount of melatonin our bodies produce, which is the natural chemical that helps regulate our sleep patterns.

Mariana Figueiro, director of the Poly's Light and Health Program, said: “Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 per cent. Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime."

And if you literally cannot stop staring at RSS feeds and the opinions of other people, Figueiro suggests that even something as simple as dimming the background lighting level on your monitor or phone screen could help convince your brain it's dark, and therefore nearly bed time, and help you off to sleep. [Telegraph]

Image credit: PC bedtime from Shutterstock