Why Using Your Phone or Tablet Before Bedtime Messes With Your Sleep Patterns

By Gary Cutlack on at

New research on the menace of blue light claims we're doing ourselves and our precious brains damage by looking at the same old things we looked at all day again when in bed, with researchers suggesting we bravely put our screens down well before bedtime to keep our natural rhythms in check.

This latest screens-are-bad news comes from a team at London's Evelina Children's Hospital, who warns that the race for ever brighter, clearer and more vibrant display tech is keeping us awake. The paper summarises this with: "The LE [light-emitting] devices tested were all bright and characterized by short-wavelength enriched emissions. Since this type of light is likely to cause the most disruption to sleep as it most effectively suppresses melatonin and increases alertness, there needs to be the recognition that at night-time 'brighter and bluer' is not synonymous with 'better.'"

This was put into more digestible words by the paper's author Professor Paul Gringras, who added: "There is converging data to say if you are in front of one of these devices at night-time it could prevent you falling asleep by an extra hour."

He thinks manufacturers should do more to automatically filter out the dazzling blue spectrum output as we get nearer and nearer to our sleepy times, adding: "It's not good enough to say do less and accept this is the world we live in, they're fun devices but we do need some protection on what they do at night-time." [Frontiers via BBC]

Image credit: Phone in bed from Shutterstock