Tablet devices can stop you from sleeping

6th September 2012

The back lit screens on tablet devices may do wonders for their form function and design but they can also interfere with your sleep patterns. So it may not be the data in the spreadsheet that’s keeping you awake at night, it could be the light shining through it.




In a scientific study at the Lighting Research Centre (LRC) of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, researchers found that a two-hour exposure to a backlit display is enough to cause melatonin suppression by about 22 per cent. Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using devices prior to bedtime,’ said Professor Mariana Figueiro, director of a light and health program at the LRC. 

Figueiro has several suggestions that can reduce the effects on sleep. ‘We recommend dimming these devices at night as much as possible in order to minimise melatonin suppression, and limiting the amount of time spent using these devices prior to bedtime,’ she said. And if you must play games, watch films, or check out spreadsheets on your tablet last thing at night, try restricting your exposure to an hour – apparently this isn’t long enough to have an impact on your melatonin levels.