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Cross off yet another place to read for your iPad-reading

May 1, 2010

As reported in a Los Angeles Times blog as well as MSNBC, researchers at the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center have concluded that reading your iPad before bedtime may be hurting your ability to fall asleep.  Why? That beautiful light-emitting LCD screen can inhibit the brain’s secretion of melatonin, which forms part of the system that regulates the sleep-wake cycle by chemically causing drowsiness and lowering the body temperature (Wikipedia 2010).

Nice ending passage from the post:

“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.

I know that I enjoy reading before bed, and have found that reading my Kindle with the Octovo Solis light does nothing to hinder my falling asleep. Holding a miniature TV to my face before trying to go to bed–that I can see as a problem.

However, I see a resolution for iPad users.  Going back to the Wikipedia article on melatonin, I see a potential fix for the situation (as well as a new iPad accessory):

Since it is principally blue light that suppresses melatonin, wearing glasses that block blue light in the hours before bedtime may avoid melatonin loss. Use of blue-blocking goggles the last hours before bedtime has also been advised for people who need to adjust to an earlier bedtime, as melatonin promotes sleepiness.

A prototype has been developed to help the elderly with their sleep quality, so maybe the company can market an iPad-version of these goggles.

Can’t read the iPad in the sun, can’t read the iPad in the bed.  What a “Kindle-killer” indeed.

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