It is said that looking at screens before going to bed makes it harder for you to fall asleep. The light of the screens disrupts our body’s biological clock, and the main culprit is technology. But does looking at screens really have a detrimental effect on our sleep?
To sleep, you need sleep hormone, which is released into the body as the air gets darker. However, research it shows Looking at screens reduces the production of sleep hormones and makes you not want to sleep. But this alone does not affect the quality of your sleep and is a little more complicated.
How does the body’s biological clock work?
The “circadian rhythm” is the clock in the body of all beings, including humans, animals, plants, and even fungi. This clock is in our body in the hypothalamus of the brain, which secretes a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin levels, often known as “sleep hormone”, rise in the night and fall in the morning. This watch has an inherent rhythm but can also change in response to light.
“This super-clock has an inherent rhythm of about 24 hours and is very sensitive to light around sunset and sunrise,” says Professor John Axelson, a sleep research specialist at the Karolinska Institute. “This watch optimizes our circadian system and allows humans to be dynamic and adaptable by changing the length of day and night in different seasons.”
Does bio-clock technology change us?
Many aspects of modern life, from lamps to the latest touchscreens, emit light. “Light has two main effects on our body clock,” says Professor Jimmy Zeitzer of Stanford University. “It adjusts the time and changes the oscillation and power of the watch.”
When our circadian rhythm changes melatonin levels, we can tell from sleep hormone levels what is affecting our body clock. Numerous studies have shown that intense, artificial light reduces melatonin production. The interesting thing is that very strong artificial light is used to help people who have a late biological clock sleep and wake up. Of course, the intensity of the light used in phototherapy is much higher than the light that comes out of our lamps or monitors.
In 2014, a study was conducted to see the difference between those who read paper books or e-books before going to bed. The study found that those who read e-books before going to bed had lower melatonin levels.
“Evidence shows that 1.5 hours of use of bright displays reduces melatonin levels at night, and this effect can increase over several nights,” said Dr Sally Richardson of Western Australia University. “But this does not directly mean that it takes longer to fall asleep.”
What effect does this have on our sleep patterns?
Although we know that melatonin has many effects on our body and is associated with sleep-wake cycles, we do not yet know how lower melatonin levels affect our sleep quality. Many studies focus on the technology and quality of sleep or how long it takes to fall asleep. Although many of these studies have found a link between looking at the screen and sleep, these relationships are often weak and do not signal the destructive effect of screens on sleep problems.
For example, a 2014 study found that people who read paper books before going to bed fell asleep on average 10 minutes earlier than e-book readers. In other studies, such as research on the effect of blue light filters, it was found that there is not much difference between normal monitors and filtered monitors, and users who use filtered monitors fall asleep only 3 to 4 minutes earlier.
“The relationship between technology use and sleep is probably a two-way street,” says Dr. Richardson, noting the complexity of the issue. “That means using technology may affect your sleep over time, but those who have trouble sleeping are more likely to increase their use of technology.”