Are late-night TV and backlight videogames a cure for insomnia, or the cause?
Modern remedies sometimes come with their own ills. Triclosan, a common antibacterial agent found in everything from toothpaste to trash bags, weakens muscles. Studies show even marijuana, recently legalized for medical purposes in nineteen US states, makes people dumber (though it is not as strong a “gateway drug” as alcohol).
A recent study at RPI claims spending two hours or more looking at backlit displays like iPads or laptops suppresses melatonin, a hormone that helps you sleep.
Until manufacturers develop more “circadian-friendly” electronic devices that increase or decrease light exposure based on time of day, Figueiro has several recommendations to reduce their effects on sleep. “We recommended dimming these devices at night as much as possible in order to minimize melatonin suppression, and limiting the amount of time spent using these devices prior to bedtime.”