BALTIMORE - Mommy blogger Titania Jordan tosses and turns for hours each night, and she thinks she knows why.
She says, "From about 7 pm 'til midnight, i am in front of a screen. I'm on the computer; i'm on my mobile device."
She could be right. Researchers, including Harvard University's Dr. Steven Lockley, argues light suppresses melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
But nowadays, we're flooded with light. Whether we're texting, e-mailing, or catching up on TV.
Lockley says, "It's a very unnatural thing for us to do, and so when we expose ourselves to light at night, we tell the brain that it's daytime."
That little bit of light can throw off our body clock. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says it's important to raise a red flag about blue wavelengths, the kind emitted by energy efficient lightbulbs and electronic gadgets.
Even dim light can be problematic. He says, "We know that blue light has the greatest propensity to alter circadian rhythms, and yet nowadays it seems that blue is the color du jour."
Studies have linked blue light and poor sleep to depression, diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular problems.
What can you do?
Have a regular bed time routine.
Sleep in a cool, dark room.
And most importantly, power down early.
Ideally, two-to three hours before bed.
But if that's not possible, Lockley says, "If you must have screen time before going to bed then limiting the amount of light that's emitted from the screen would be helpful, so you can turn down the brightness."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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