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Backlit Displays Responsible For Delayed Sleep, Research Shows

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have been studying devices with backlit displays and their effects on the user. The team was especially interested on the effects of backlit display devices on users’ sleeping system. And now, the results of the study tend to confirm their suspicions.


Melatonin Suppression Test

The key of the study was to measure the effects of backlit displays on Melatonin, a very critical part of our sleeping system. Essentially, if you have high levels of melatonin in your body, you will feel sleepy. On the other hand, if the melatonin levels drop, you will feel more alert and awake.

The researchers were trying to gauge exactly how backlit display devices, such as tablets, can affect melatonin levels in human body. To conduct the study, the effects of the tablet usage on 13 individuals were closely studied and noted. The subjects used the tablets to read books and play games, not any stressful kind of work.

And in the final paper which reveals the findings of the study, team lead Mariana Figueiro wrote, “Our study shows that a two-hour exposure to light from self-luminous electronic displays can suppress melatonin by about 22 percent. Stimulating the human circadian system to this level may affect sleep in those using the devices prior to bedtime.”

This is very significant since it confirms that devices such as tablets can create sleeping-problems for the users. Figueiro further says, “Based on these results, display manufacturers can use our model to determine how their products could affect circadian system regulation.”

The researchers believe that based on their finding, the manufacturers can start creating tablets with better displays. In fact, with smarter technology, the manufacturers can even create such devices which suppress melatonin levels during the day, thus keeping the user active, and trigger the hormone at night so as to ensure a sound sleep.

Source: Rensselaer

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