Though it has long been believed that light interrupts sleep, this research focused specifically on mobile device screens.
Scientists and doctors have known for many years that exposure to light can interrupt a person’s natural sleep patterns and make it harder to obtain the rest we need, but recently the light from tablet computers was put to the test by a team of researchers from the University of Bergen.
What they found was that people who use tablets and other mobile devices causes harm even when used in the dark.
The researchers looked into the impact of using tablet computers at bedtime when compared to reading a traditional print book. What the scientists discovered was that after reading a tablet screen for only 30 minutes while in bed, a negative impact on sleep can occur. The results of this study were published within the Sleep Medicine journal. The intention of the research was to determine whether the backlighting of the screens of mobile devices actually had a meaningful impact on the quality of sleep a user would receive.
The researchers compared the use of tablet computers with the results from people reading print books.
The study involved the participation of 16 students with an average age of 25.1 years. The research participants were permitted to sleep in their own homes and beds in order to ensure that the results were not compromised by an alteration in the participant’s sleep environment. The researchers then used a polysomnography tool in order to be able to detect sleep disorders in any of the participants. Before the study, none of the participants suffered from sleep struggles.
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When the participants read from print books, the problem with sleep struggles was deemed nonexistent among the participants who already did not have problems with insomnia.
On the other hand, the tablet computers appeared to have an effect on the level of sleepiness of the users. It is suspected that the light emitted from the device screen may have played a role in this impact. That said, it’s important to note that while it may have taken more time for tablet users to doze off, the duration of sleep was the same regardless of the use of a digital screen or a print book.