The new generation has its head not in the clouds but down in their cell phones and other gadgets.
Technology has come a long way to provide us with unimaginable products. Gone are the days of letters
with the advent of social media, and gone are the days when people sat down with a book in hand.
These days, e-books are the craze and rave.
According to the lead author Charles Czeisler, who hold a degree of Ph.D. and is currently the chief of
the Brigham and Women’s Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders says, “In the past 50 years, there
has been a decline in average sleep duration and quality. Since more people are choosing electronic
devices for reading, communication and entertainment, particularly children and adolescents who
already experience significant sleep loss, epidemiological research evaluating the long-term
consequences of these devices on health and safety is urgently needed.”
Scientist at the Harvard Medical University decided to study the impact of the blue light emitted by
these devices. Twelve participants took part in the study and were asked to read e-books each night at
bedtime for four hours. For 5 consecutive days, the readers used an iPad and later they were asked to
read from trusty old paper backs. Their routine was observed for 2 weeks in a randomized fashion
where some people used electronic devices first while the others used printed books.
The study revealed that people who used iPads had trouble falling asleep since they were less sleepy in
the evening. When they did fall asleep, they spent very little time in REM sleep, which one of the most
important components of sleep. In the morning they were sleepy even after 8 hours of sleep. They
showed low levels of melatonin, which is a hormone secreted in the body and helps in induction of
“We found the body’s natural circadian rhythms were interrupted by the short-wavelength enriched
light, otherwise known as blue light, from these electronic devices. Participants reading an LE-eBook
took longer to fall asleep and had reduced evening sleepiness, reduced melatonin secretion, later timing
of their circadian clock and reduced next-morning alertness than when reading a printed book,” said
Anne-Marie Chang, who is an Associate Neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Division of Sleep and