Tablets and Smartphones Are Robbing You of Sleep

In 1900, people slept nine hours a night. That declined to seven hours a night in the 1970s and decreased further until today. Inadequate sleep is linked to poor concentration, anxiety, loss of energy, decreased learning ability, reduced attention to detail and motor vehicle accidents. How did sleep, which came so naturally, suddenly become a crisis? What is the smoking gun that explains modern sleep problems? Scientists found that the culprit is an unusual suspect hiding in plain sight— smartphones, tablets, backlit e-readers and computer screens. These devices emit light, particularly blue light that disturbs biochemical processes that promote sleep. They also increase exposure to electromagnetic radiation, which is linked to insomnia, headache and confusion. The radiation from cell phones interferes with brain centers that secrete hormones and influence many aspects of body function. Our bodies pay a price from surrounding ourselves with fancy smartphones, tablets and light-emitting gadgets— the price is lost sleep. (Proceedings National Academy Of Sciences, USA 112: 1232-1237, 2015)

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