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Using electronic devices before bed can ruin sleep

Can an iPad or smartphone prevent you from falling asleep at night? Research says yes.  

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that reading from iPads before bed reduced levels of melatonin—a hormone that helps induce sleep.

Other blue-light emitting electronics such as tablets, smartphones and laptops have the same effect.

“Everyone has an internal clock that controls the circadian rhythm in the brain and tells them when they are supposed to be asleep,” says Aris Iatridis, M.D., a pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at Piedmont. “When people are exposed to blue light, the brain holds off on releasing melatonin because the light stimulates the brain.”

Suffering from sleepiness

A lack of sleep can affect the brain’s ability to function properly—triggering chronic fatigue, memory loss and an inability to concentrate.

These symptoms can lead to poor work performance, accidents while driving and more serious health conditions like depression, diabetes and heart disease.  

Tips for a good night’s sleep

According to Dr. Iatridis, it’s healthy for people to sleep at least seven to nine hours per night. To improve your chances of a good night’s rest, Dr. Iatridis suggests the following:

  • Avoid bright light exposure at least an hour before you go to bed. Turn off all smartphones, tablets and laptops. And read a book. It’s more likely to put you to sleep.
  • Try not to exercise too late in the evening. Exercise increases adrenaline levels, which makes it difficult for some people to fall asleep.
  • If you need to get more rest, it’s best to avoid alcohol. Though it may help you fall asleep, your sleep is more likely to be disrupted.
  • Don’t drink caffeinated beverages after lunch time. Caffeine can stay in your system from three to 12 hours. So that 3 p.m. cup of coffee, may keep you alert well into the night.

For more helpful, healthful tips, click here

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