Sleep Smarter Tip #2

Did You Know?

Blue light from computer screen

Blue light from your television and computer monitor have been shown to “power up” your brain. Get your brain ready for bedtime by abstaining from TV and computer use at least 30 minutes before bedtime – it will thank you in the morning!

From the WebMD Sleep Disorders Health Center, WebMD Meidical News:
Nighttime Computer Users May Lose Sleep:
• Playing a video game or finishing up some work on computer before bed may keep you awake long after you turn the computer off
• Bright light of computer screen may alter the body’s biological clock and suppress the natural production of melatonin that’s critical to the normal sleep-wake cycle
• Melatonin production was significantly affected by the brightness of the computer screen as well as the type of task performed

Sleepy? Research finds TV or internet before bedtime the cause
by Stuart Miles

• People that watch tv or spend time on the internet before bed are more likely to feel they don’t get enough sleep
• Longer electronic media use before sleep can trigger self-perceived insufficient sleep
• Nearly 50% of respondents in study associated their lack of sleep with electronic media use before bedtime
• Internet use affected self-perceived insufficient sleep more than tv watching

When the blues keep you awake
by William Cromie in Harvard Gazette

• Eyes are part of a light reception system that can keep us alert when start to get sleepy
• Men and women exposed to blue light sustained a high level of alertness during the night when people feel most sleepy
• Eyes monitor light for the purpose of setting our biological clocks to a 24-hour day
• It is still unknown how whether light affects circadian clock directly or through melatonin production
• Level of melatonin peaks during the night, increasing sleepiness
• Daylight or artificial exposure to light at night suppresses melatonin production

Light Treatment May Help Teens Wake for School from Lighting
Research Center at RPI

• Circadian rhythms are synchronized by the 24-hour light/dark cycle
• Exposure to light and dark stimuli help to set the body’s internal master clock (circadian system) to match the solar day
• There needs to be a distinct, repeated pattern of light/dark to tell the circadian system the solar time
• Blue light is the most efficient at stimulating the circadian system
• It isn’t just the color that is important, but the entire 24-hour pattern of light intensity, spatial distribution, timing, and duration all in combination with the color

Is the information superhighway keeping you awake at night?
From The Insomnia Blog by Sleep Doctor Michael Breus

• The light emanating from computer screens and televisions can disrupt the body’s ability to prepare for sleep and literally wind down
• Computer/tv use prior to bed may have less to do with how long we sleep at night and more to do with how much sleep we really need and the quality of that sleep
• “Secret” to a good night’s sleep is to have a power down hour before bedtime
• During which you relax and remove yourself from the tasks and chores of daily life that can keep you wired and awake
• Single tip that is definitive and could pretty much guarantee a restful night’s sleep is to avoid the internet 30 minutes before bedtime


More research:

Time-of-day-dependent effects of bright light exposure on human psychophysiology: comparison of daytime and nighttime exposure. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative, and Comparative Physiology. 290:1413-1420.

Higuchi, S., Motohashi, Y., Liu, Y., Ahara, M., & Kaneko, Y. (2003). Effects of VDT tasks with a bright display at night on melatonin, core temperature, heart rate, and sleepiness. Journal of Applied Physiology. 94:1773-1776.

Mann, K. & Roschke, J. (1996). Effects of pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic fields on human sleep. Neuropsychobiology. 33(1):41-47.

Cajochen, C., Jud, C., Munch, M., Kobialka, S., Wirz-Justice, A., & Albrecht, U. (2006). Evening exposure to blue light stimulates the expression of the clock gene PER2 in humans. European Journal of Neuroscience. 23:1082-1086.

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~ by sleepsmarter on March 26, 2008.

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