By: Dr. Evan Pulver
Did you get a new iPad for Christmas? Great! Just don't use it before bedtime, studies published in December 2014 from the Journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences say.
The study compared sleep patterns of 2 groups: one group read a book with a traditional light (think bedside lamp) and the other group read on an iPad, all for the same amount of time.
Those reading on the iPad had suppressed melatonin levels based on blood tests, indicating a change in circadian rhythm, your body's internal clock.
Our bodies are designed to sleep at night, and the sun going down has been a pretty good signal for us to start winding down for thousands of years. This study indicates that using the brightly lit screen of an iPad, and more than likely your cell phone, TV, and computers too- send signals to your brain that say "Hey, it's super bright out, we should be working, caring for children, hunting, exercising". Bright light does not tell your brain to lay down and take a nap.
Chronic sleep deprivation is an issue that should be addressed in your life. It can lead to many secondary conditions, such as:
1. Weight gain
2. Loss of focus/productivity
3. Muscular spasm/strain
4. Occupational hazards
Another issue that arises with late-night and chronic electronic use is the structural changes that can happen. As I spoke about in our December E-zine, our spine should be able to handle the stress and strain of looking down. If a foundational shift of the spine has occurred from a physical trauma earlier in life, this may alter the biomechanics of the spine. Like hammering a bent nail, chronically looking down when the spine is susceptible to injury can increase the likelihood of other issues developing.
The FINAL WORD
iPads make great gifts. They are fun, portable, and have unlimited uses. Please use them effectively to increase your quality of life, NOT to make you a grouch in the morning!
Did you enjoy this Foundation Chiropractic Blog Post? Great!
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Dr. Evan Pulver