[BANISH BEDTIME BLUES]
If you want a good night’s sleep, step away from the computer. Here’s why: The sleep-promoting hormone melatonin is suppressed by light—any kind, but especially the blue waves given off by LEDs (light-emitting diodes). After a group of researchers exposed subjects prebedtime to two hours of the type of blue-wavelength light produced by modern computers, the participants had a harder than normal time falling asleep. And the effect lingered. “The more blue light in the evening, the less deep sleep there was at the beginning of the following night,” says lead author Christian Cajochen, PhD, head of the Centre for Chronobiol-ogy in Basel, Switzerland. Almost any machine with LEDs (that includes TVsets and the screens of many electronic devices) will undermine the quality of your sleep. Nancy Collop, MD, director of the Emory University Sleep Center in Atlanta, suggests two ways of reducing your blue-light exposure: Don’t bring laptops to bed, and do turn off the TV 30 to 60 minutes before sleep time.
Originally published in the November 2011 issue of More.
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