iPad Could Induce Insomnia, New Research Shows

April 29th, 2010 - 10:32 pm ICT by Angela Kaye Mason  

Apr 29 (THAINDIAN NEWS) According to a new study, the artificial light which is emitted from Apple’s iPad, similar to that in a laptop, may give those who use the iPad to read before bedtime a long night with little sleep. This is said to be due to the fact that the iPad uses a back-lit display such as laptops, and cell phones have instead of the ‘e-paper’ type displays which are found on other popular e-readers, such as a Kindle. These will mimic a printed and duller lighted page by reflecting light which comes from somewhere other than the device.

“If you’re using a Kindle — which doesn’t use a significant light source — that may potentially have less of an impact compared to a device like a laptop or an iPad with more significant light exposure,” said Alon Avidan, a neurologist and associate director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

Those who study sleep have known for quite a while that light will inhibit the release of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps a person sleep. Any artificial light source which a person chooses to use at night, no matter if it is from a television set or a lamp bedside the bed can can slow down the melatonin production of the human body. This rises as the sun fades, and then slows as sunrise approaches, a process called the Circadian rhythm.

The reason the iPad seems to cause more concern than other forms of light used at night is that fact that the user often places the device very close to the face. This would presumably cause more interruption on the production of melatonin than a television all the way across a room. Another reason is the fact that the iPad has a full color screen, unlike e-readers. Blue light, for example, is well known for causing alertness.

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