By John D. Sutter, CNN
There’s growing concern that the glowing screens of laptops and the iPad may affect sleep if used right before bedtime.
J.D. Moyer decided recently to conduct a little experiment with artificial light and his sleep cycle.
The sleep-deprived Oakland, California, resident had read that strong light — whether it’s beaming down from the sun or up from the screens of personal electronics — can reset a person’s internal sleep clock.
So, for one month, whenever the sun set, he turned off all the gadgets and lights in his house — from the bulb hidden in his refrigerator to his laptop computer.
It worked. Instead of falling asleep at midnight, Moyer’s head was hitting the pillow as early as 9 p.m. He felt so well-rested during the test, he said, that friends remarked on his unexpected morning perkiness.
“I had the experience, a number of times, just feeling kind of unreasonably happy for no reason. And it was the sleep,” he said. “Sure, you can get by with six or seven hours, but sleeping eight or nine hours — it’s a different state of mind.”
Moyer may be onto something.
More than ever, consumer electronics — particularly laptops, smartphones and Apple’s new iPad — are shining bright light into our eyes until just moments before we doze off.
Now there’s growing concern that these glowing gadgets may actually fool our brains into thinking it’s daytime. Exposure can disturb sleep patterns and exacerbate insomnia, some sleep researchers said in interviews.
“Potentially, yes, if you’re using [the iPad or a laptop] close to bedtime … that light can be sufficiently stimulating to the brain to make it more awake and delay your ability to sleep,” said Phyllis Zee, a neuroscience professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology.
“And I think more importantly, it could also be sufficient to affect your circadian rhythm. This is the clock in your brain that determines when you sleep and when you wake up.”
Such concerns are not entirely new: One sleep researcher said Thomas Edison created these problems when he invented the light bulb.
Zen Alarm Clocks
Choosing an alternative to your i Pad alarm clock just may help to sleep better.
“The Zen Alarm Clock,” uses soothing acoustic chimes that awaken users gently and gradually, making waking up a real pleasure. Rather than an artificial recorded sound played through a speaker, the Zen Clock features an alloy chime bar similar to a wind chime. When the clock’s alarm is triggered, its chime produces a long-resonating, beautiful acoustic tone reminiscent of a temple gong. Then, as the ring tone gradually fades away, the clock remains silent until it automatically strikes again three minutes later. The frequency of the chime strikes gradually increase over ten-minutes, eventually striking every five seconds, so they are guaranteed to wake up even the heaviest sleeper. This gentle, ten-minute “progressive awakening” leaves users feeling less groggy, and even helps with dream recall.
In the morning, its exquisite sounds summon your consciousness into awakening with a series of subtle gongs that provide an elegant beginning to your day. Once you experience the Zen Timepiece’s progressive awakening, you’ll never want to wake up any other way.
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Posted in Natural Awakening, Now & Zen Alarm Clocks, sleep, Sleep Habits