A new study from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center has found that reading a backlit tablet device can suppress melatonin levels by as much as 22%, resulting in disrupted sleep patterns. The Sharp-funded study found that the effect was especially noticeable in younger readers.
The study found that a two-hour exposure to self-luminous displays can stimulate the human circadian rhythm (the human biological process that runs according to an approximate 24-hour cycle), with a one-hour exposure having significantly less of an effect.
It’s not all bad news, though. The researchers suggest that their data could one day help tablet manufacturers to develop more ‘circadian friendly’ screens that are better synced to the needs of users at different times of the day. Perhaps in the future, your tablet’s screen will actually help you get ready to sleep rather than causing problems.