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Sarah UKFast | Account Manager

Having Trouble Sleeping?

23 December 2014 by Jenn Granger

Last thing at night, it’s tempting to use your devices to surf the internet, check Facebook one more time (what has your best mate’s cousin’s cat been up to in the last hour?), or even read a book to wind down. Well actually, not so much. E-readers may be the answer to hefting heavy books around in your bag, but new research also shows that they might also damage your sleep.


A team from Harvard Medical School have done a study into the effects of reading from paper books vs e-readers just before bed, and turns out the latter gives worse quality sleep and you’re more tired in the morning – some people even feel a hangover effect.

Twelve people were shut in a sleep laboratory for two weeks, and spent five days reading from a paperback and five days from an iPad. The team took blood samples regularly, which showed that reading an e-book limited the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. People also took longer to fall asleep, had less deep sleep and were more sluggish the next morning.

Obviously this applies to other devices too and using your phone or laptop late at night has been shown to have the same effect. A survey of 1,508 American adults recently showed that 90% used electronics at least a few nights per week within the hour before bedtime. The Kindle isn’t so bad (although the Kindle Fire has the same effect) as it’s only the reflected light off the paper-esque pages coming at your peepers.

The blue light from phones, tablets and backlit devices disrupts your body clock and suppresses melatonin; and not getting enough sleep can increase the risk of all kinds of not-fun things like diabetes, obesity or even cancer.

We’ve got some tips on how to stay healthy in front of a screen, but ultimately, cutting down on your pre-bed device time can only be a good thing, and although we’re unashamed tech-lovers here, we know there’s a time to unplug too. Plus, there are plenty of other ways of relaxing before bed: have a bath, persuade someone to give you a massage (partner, parent, complicated setup involving oranges taped onto a stick), or you can always kick it old-school and read actual books instead!

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