But you’re not quite ready to disconnect from the world – so you surf a little, update your status on facebook and watched a u-tube video or two….. then you turn off the lights. Expecting the sandman to pay you a visit.
You’ve powered down, but not disconnected.
Powering down the on board computer
As the shadows grow longer and the light begins to fade. The body dispatches the night valet from the pineal gland, to draw the curtains and get you ready for bed, by popping a mint on your pillow.
The valet’s name is melatonin. He is a soft spoken, somewhat shy hormone, who has the monumental task of powering down the body for the night.
Powering down, a system as complex as the human body, takes a while.
From start to finish, it can take a couple of hours to get you ready for bed.
But, switching on your tablet, sends melatonin scurrying back into the pineal gland….
Working hard in the light
This is the finding of a research team from Resselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The researchers enrolled a bunch of tablet toting work-a-holics in their study, to see what a 2 hour work session would do to their melatonin levels.
Since what you are doing on the screen, impacts on how much light is emitted, the team kept a watchful eye on each tablet users level of light exposure during a work session and then tracked this light exposure, with melatonin levels.
The valet is missing in action
The team confirmed tablets are lighting up their users world. Photopic illuminance levels ranged from 5 lux through to 50 lux.
5 lux is not going to upset anyone, but 50 lux is enough to cause valet troubles.
And, after two hours of feverishly working on their devices, the volunteers were all a little short changed on melatonin.
Melatonin levels were down by around 22 %.
Unplugged but sleepless
That is enough to interrupt the powering down process, which is getting you ready for bed. Leaving you unplugged, but sleepless when you finally put your tablet away for the night.
Long-term, these disruptions can lead to …
Your valet is not computer literate
Technology has allowed you to take the computer to bed, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Melatonin, the guy who puts you to bed each night, is very old fashioned and a little afraid of technology. The bright lights and flashing screens tend to scare him off.
You really do need melatonin, to pull down the covers and tuck you in to bed, if you want a good night’s sleep, so be sensitive to his technophobia.
Either power down or dim the device, in the hour or so before bed – to avoid being sleepless in…..Light level and duration of exposure determine the impact of self-luminous tablets on melatonin suppression. Applied Ergonomics (2013) 44(2):237-240. Brittany Wood, Mark S. Rea, Barbara Plitnick, Mariana G. Figueiro.
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