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The Future Of Reading

Reading on iPad before bed can affect sleep habits

Posted by admin on May 3, 2010

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iPad

Sleep experts say using iPad before bed can affect sleeping habits unlike most other e-readers.

The difference? Devices like the Kindle or Sony readers use e-paper technology. It simulates the look of an actual printed page and dosn’t emit light. That means, unlike the iPad, you can effectively read in direct sunlight.

The iPad, however, contains a touchscreen liquid-crystal display that, like computer screens and television sets, emits light.

But staring at the screen before bed could leave you lying awake. That’s because direct exposure to such abnormal light sources inhibits the body’s secretion of melatonin, said sleep experts. Melatonin signals are sent through the brain as a response to darkness, telling the body to prepare to shut down for the night.

Light-emitting devices tell the brain to stay alert. Because users hold those devices so close to their face, staring directly into the light, the effect is amplified compared with, say, a TV across the room or a bedside lamp, said Frisca Yan-Go, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center in Santa Monica.

Some say e-ink devices, like the Kindle, are easier on the eyes than computer screens (tablets or otherwise). However, the Wall Street Journal published a report this month to the contrary.

“The take-home lesson is that insomnia and electronics gadgets emitting light should not [be] mixed before bedtime,” UCLA Neurology Clinic Director Alon Avidan, also an associate professor at the university, wrote in an e-mail. However, “Kindle is better for your sleep,” he wrote in another e-mail.

Don’t have a Kindle? Buy yours now for ($259) $189!!

Seen on: Los Angeles Times.

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