For many people putting their iPad down before going to bed is the last thing they do. New research is suggesting that the bright light produced from tablets can suppress melatonin – that’s the hormone that helps control wake and sleep patterns called circadian rhythms.  “If they are bright and they are big and are close to your eyes, they have more potential to disrupt your melatonin than the TV which is usually farther away,” says researcher Mariana Figueroa, associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.  The researchers found that using tablets for two hours on their brightest settings suppressed melatonin by about 22%. The tablets used in the study were the iPad, iPad 2, and a tablet called the Asus.  Figueroa said that iPhones and other small devices may not affect circadian rhythms because they give off less light.  “But even if the devices aren’t zapping the body’s melatonin supply, they may still be disrupting sleep by delaying your bedtime,” she says.  However, if you are not ready to give up your tablet at bedtime, WebMD offers the following tips that can help you still get the sleep you need….

Use a filter.  Filters can help curb the glow and block out the blue light.

Dim the lights. Figueiro suggests using the automatic dimmer on your tablet at night. She also suggests turning off the lights in your room.

Put a distance between yourself and the tablet.

Impose an electronic curfew. This is a good idea for yourself as well as your kids. “These devices are faking out our body and saying it’s morning when it’s night. This disruption in circadian rhythm can affect learning among school-aged children,” says Michael Breus, PhD.     WebMD   September 3, 2012

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