Modern Sleep Problems


Having trouble sleeping?  Get that laptop out of your bedroom!

According to an article on, scientists at Harvard Medical School have found that using a smartphone, tablet or laptop at bedtime may be interfering with the quality of sleep.

That’s because specific wavelengths of light can suppress the slumber-inducing hormone, melatonin, in the brain.

The result is less sleep—and less time for the body to recover.

Regular sleep disturbances are associated with ailments including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, according to Hillman.

Modern technology isn’t helping.

While the ping of a nocturnal e-mail or text message can interrupt sleep, staring at the gadgets’ screen late at night may be more detrimental, according to Charles Czeisler, a professor of sleep medicine at Harvard.

He says it’s our exposure to artificial light, particularly in the evening between the timing of sunset and when we would normally go to bed, that’s dramatically changed the timing of our circadian rhythms.

Dr. Czeizler points out that energy-saving LED lights are especially problematic.  They are used in flat-panel televisions, computer displays and smartphone screens, and they are replacing less-efficient incandescent light bulbs worldwide.

He recommends setting a technology curfew and using yellow-based lighting in the evening that can be dimmed and switched off completely by 10:30 p.m.

Czeizler says, “It may be that gradually lowering the light might be more powerful than just shutting them off all at once.”

For more on this story, go to and enter “sleep and light” in the search engine.


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