Most iPad Owners Use Device In The Bedroom: How Gadgets Hurt Your Sleep

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/13/2012 8:27 am EDT Updated: 03/14/2012 5:10 pm EDT

About 35 percent of British adults sleep with teddy bears. Many more share a bed with a partner or spouse. Others still co-sleep, alongside children in a family bed.

But snuggling up with your iPad? A recent survey by marketing agency Rosetta found that 68 percent of tablet owners use the device in the bedroom, more than in any other location. The living room took a close second place, at 63 percent, reports AdAge.com, and only 45 percent of respondents said they use their tablets on the go.

"It's just a lot easier to get cozy in bed with the iPad," Joe Alvarado of Minneapolis told the Star Tribune. "It's really convenient for searching the Web, reading newspapers, Facebook, Twitter, all that stuff."

But bringing devices into the bedroom is a bad idea, if quality rest is your goal. One of the most important triggers of sleepiness is darkness, which signals to the brain that it's time to start ramping up production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. But, as the New York Times points out, in our modern world, we are exposed to light long after the sun sets. While any type of light can disturb your slumber, the blue wavelength light emitted by cell phones, laptops, tablets and other gadgets is particularly disruptive. Research shows that this blue light triggers alertness -- so decisively that it can actually be used to fight fatigue.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 95 percent of Americans use some device, whether it's a TV, laptop, cell phone or other gadget, within an hour of hitting the hay. "Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night ... shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour -- making it more difficult to fall asleep," Charles Czeisler, Ph.D., M.D., chief of the division of sleep medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and professor and director of the division of sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School said in a statement.

Instead, experts recommend turning off all devices an hour before bedtime and finding another method for winding down, like reading a book, taking a warm bath or performing a series of calming yoga poses. It's also a good idea to exercise and lay off the caffeine several hours before bedtime.

What about you? Do you use devices in the bedroom? How do you unwind before sleep? Tell us in the comments.

For more on sleep, click here.

Flickr photo by F Delventhal

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