Why Your Computer is Ruining Your Sleep

Find out how late-night gadget use affects your ability to get some shut-eye.

By Rachel Sylvester for TheNest.com

Getty Images / The NestGetty Images / The Nest

Find it hard to switch off your gadgets before bed? It turns out that one's inability to turn off makes it more difficult to tune out at the end of the day.

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New research published in the journal Applied Ergonomics shed some light on light -- more specifically, how self-luminous displays increase your risk of sleep disorders. Devices that emit light -- cell phones, televisions and computers included -- also emit short wavelengths of optical radiation. Although undetectable to the naked eye, this radiation suppresses natural melatonin levels, ultimately harming your ability to get quality shut-eye.

The study was conducted in the Lighting Research Center at New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Thirteen participants were studied after they received prolonged exposure to varying degrees of tablet brightness. Ultimately, researchers found that two or more hours of gadget time results in dramatic melatonin suppression.

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This inhibition doesn't just harm your ability to sleep, either. Melatonin suppression has been previously linked to cancer and obesity, making the harsh glow of your laptop that much more frightening.

While it's impossible to fathom life without a cell phone or flat screens, it's clear that turning off your gadgets will allow for better sleep. If the mere thought of limited technology time bores you, we advise reading a book (just not the electronic kind).

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