Digital Crave

Why you shouldn’t bring your tablet to bed

Digital Crave

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It's an increasingly common occurrence: tablet owners are taking their portable device with them everywhere, be it the kitchen table, the bathroom and even the bedroom.

Except if you're crawling into bed with your iPad or other tablet -- perhaps to flip through an ebook at the end of the day -- you might not be falling asleep as fast as you like. And you might not be staying asleep peacefully for that matter.

"In order for us to fall asleep we need an increase in levels of melatonin -- but light, such as a back-lit tablet, decreases melatonin production," explains Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute in Joplin, Missouri.

"Not only does bringing a tablet to bed make it more difficult to fall asleep, research has found you might not have a restful sleep," adds Oexman, in a telephone interview. On a related note, those who keep a TV on while sleeping might also be affecting the quality of their sleep as any light that comes through the eyelids could decrease melatonin. Yep, even a nightlight.

Oexman says a regular book or non-backlit e-book reader is the better way to go, for those who want to read and unwind before going to sleep.

The second issue, says Oexman, is bringing work to bed with us. "It was bad enough when it was late night TV, but bringing tablets, smartphones and laptops to bed could result to an increase in stimulation and thus not relaxing before sleep." Oexman says instead of seven or so hours of sleep, many of us are settling for only five to six hours a night. "I just read an interesting article about the top trend of 2012 being energy drinks…is this a coincidence?," he asks, rhetorically.

"And what if you get an email on your smartphone or tablet and don't read it…you might be curious about what it is and be tempted to read it, which could affect your relaxation," Oexman adds.

The third concern is related to the radiation emitted by Wi-Fi and cellular devices. Oexman says more teens are sleeping with smartphones, which could pose as a health risk.

Yahoo! readers, do you bring your tablet to bed? Any issues falling and staying asleep?

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