Technological difficulties

Books, newspapers, letters, you name it–they’re all headed the way of the dinosaur.

More and more people spend their entire day plugged in. And surprise, surprise… it’s messing with our body’s natural rhythms.

New research from the Mayo Clinic shows that the bright-light diodes that illuminate devices like smartphones, e-readers, and tablets impede secretion of melatonin–the hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycles.

Melatonin is released in response to darkness. And without it, your body can’t properly wind down.

Scientists looked at the effects of two different tablets and a smart phone, when used in a dark room. And they found that the highest light settings caused disruptions in sleep… pointing to at least one probable culprit behind this nation’s widespread sleep deficit.

Not that this problem is that new. You run the same risk by watching TV at bedtime. So the most obvious solution here is also the simplest one.

Keep technology where it belongs–out of your bedroom.

Of course, I realize that won’t work for everyone. And if your entire library is stored on your Kindle and you can’t resist a good e-book before bed, don’t worry. You’re not necessarily doomed to an endless struggle with insomnia.

According to this study, you just need to dim the brightness settings on your phone or tablet. And be sure to keep it at least 14 inches from your face.

Both strategies will help to minimize melatonin interference for a better night’s sleep.

Mayo Clinic. “Are smartphones disrupting your sleep?.” ScienceDaily, 3 Jun. 2013. Web. 26 Jun. 2013.