iPads— Read 'em and Weep... or Ditch 'em and Sleep

Your electronic devices may be keeping you up at night

There's nothing quite like lounging in bed with a good book, lulling yourself to sleep with a moderately compelling romance story or mystery novel or vampire chronicle. While the storylines haven't changed in the last decade, our definition of a "book" certainly has. And for some insomniacs, this change isn't for the better.

Reading on an iPad at bedtime can affect your ability to fall asleep.

Most e-readers, like Nooks and Kindles, utilize a technology known as e-paper, which simulates the look of real paper. An iPad, by comparison, contains a liquid-crystal display that gives off a significant amount of artificial light. As most people with sleep disorders know, "light at night" is not a good thing.

Exposure to bright lights prior to bed inhibits the release of melatonin, the natural hormone in the body that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Shortly after the sun goes down, your body begins producing this hormone as a means to tell the body it's time to "shut down."

Staring directly into bright lights— be that from a television, computer, cell phone, or iPad— sends a signal to your body that it's daytime, and therefore, melatonin production is disrupted. This is why reading your iPad at night might make you feel more alert and give you trouble falling asleep.

To avoid the frustration and tears that go with a sleepless night, skip the fancy technology and keep your night-time reading ritual simple with a good 'ole paperback, or listen to a book on tape with your SleepPhones.

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