Why Digital Devices are Doing More Than Just Keeping You Awake at Night

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 29-Jul-2015

By now you’ve probably heard that reading on your phone (or any digital device, for that matter) at night is bad for your sleep. But it goes further. Screen time before bed isn’t just keeping you awake at night.

Here are several other reasons you should avoid reading on a digital screen before bed.

1. It makes you less alert during the day. It’s really that simple. If you aren’t sleeping well at night, you will be less alert and sleepier during the day.

2. It can make you more likely to gain weight. Lack of sleep can be a detriment to your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns fat). The sleepier you are, the less likely you’ll be able to control your cravings. Some studies have even linked poor sleep to obesity.

3. It can lead to diabetes and/or heart disease. If poor sleep quality can cause obesity, it can also lead to diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as other health problems.

4. It may put you at greater risk of some cancers. Screen time before bed reduces the body’s production of melatonin (the sleep hormone), and chronic melatonin suppression may be linked to an increased risk of some cancers, particularly breast and prostate cancer.

5. It causes attention and memory problems. Lack of sleep can cause you to easily lose focus during the day and suffer memory problems. If you don’t want to forget important things or lose productivity at work, put your phone away at least an hour before bed.

6. It has been linked to depression. Research has shown that suppressed melatonin can also lead to depression.

7. It could lead to macular degeneration. Blue light emitted from digital devices can damage the retina, leading to macular degeneration, which affects your central vision.

8. It may cause cataracts at an early age. Though still under investigation, some eye doctors have noticed an increase in cataract cases among younger adults, which may to be linked to the use of digital devices.

Make a habit of turning off digital devices—including the TV—at least an hour before bedtime. If you’re using your phone or tablet to read at night, pick up a real paper book instead. If you must be on your phone, tablet or computer at night, there are special filters you can get for iOS, Android and your computer to block the blue light, which is the real culprit here.

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