Yeah, it would be great to wake up feeling more restedÃ¢â‚¬”but you canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to kick your pre-sleep Netflix ritual. New research could help solve your bedtime woes: By dimming the brightness level on your device, you can ensure that the amount of light coming out of the screen wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mess with your sleep quality, according to a new Mayo Clinic study presented recently at SLEEP 2013, the Associated Professional Sleep Societies annual meeting in Baltimore.
Melatonin, a sleep-regulating hormone secreted by your brain, can only be produced in a dark or dimly lit room with an illuminance of less than 200 lux (the units used to measure brightness), says study co-author Lois Krahn, MD, a psychiatrist and sleep expert at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
So for this study, researchers set out to see if it was possible to get smartphones, tablets, and other devicesÃ¢â‚¬”all suspected to hamper sleep quality when used before bedÃ¢â‚¬”way below that: under the 30-lux mark. After using a light monitor to measure the brightness of a variety of gadgets, they found that either dimming the screen to about the 50 percent mark or holding the device at least 14 inches away from your face gets the light exposure to that less-than-30 lux threshold.
Another way to ensure you catch more ZzzÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s even if you take your tablet to bed: Be mindful of what youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re looking at, says Krahn. Sometimes itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the content itself that might keep you up at night (that means no Facebook stalking your ex and his new girlfriend before bed). Also, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll want to cut yourself off before your normal bedtime, says Krahn. Staying up watching Homeland into the wee hours of the night is guaranteed to leave you wiped the next dayÃ¢â‚¬”no matter how dim you make the screen.
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