You are not logged in Login or Sign Up

Are e-books good for you?

Your e-book may be keeping you awake, instead of helping you relax and get to sleep. Taking your Kindle or IPad to bed may not be a good idea, says recent US research from Harvard.

Guardian Report

The Guardian reports that sleep research at Harvard Medical School (granted, it's a small study)  shows that subjects who choose digital fare less well than readers who read a printed book. They took on average 10 minutes longer to fall asleep plus felt less sleepy in the runup to bedtime (they read for four hours). It may be that the e book light affected not only how quickly they went to sleep, but the quality.

Test subjects also had lower levels of melatonin (the sleep-creating hormone) if they were reading on an electronic device than if they read a printed book. They had “less REM (rapid eye movement) sleep” and took longer to wake up and feel alert, said the report in The Guardian.

REM sleep

REM sleep is essential to good health. Adults spend about 20 to 25% of sleep time in REM sleep and not getting enough can affect issues from anxiety to memory.

The NIH says (excerpts): “We typically spend more than 2 hours each night dreaming...  dreams almost always occur during REM sleep. REM sleep stimulates the brain regions used in learning. This may be important for normal brain development during infancy, which would explain why infants spend much more time in REM sleep than adults— One study found that REM sleep affects learning of certain mental skills. People taught a skill and then deprived of non-REM sleep could recall what they had learned after sleeping, while people deprived of REM sleep could not.”

So should you take an e-book to bed?

It might be a good idea, especially if you're not getting as much sleep as you need, to stick to print books. Save the e-book for daylight or when you're on the beach, the subway, or where portability and easy access matter most!

More on insomnia--the natural solution (and a sponsor!)


Post your comments

Join Us!

Connect w. GabbyMag (free!) for tips, insider news & more.

Business Directory