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For a better night's sleep, turn off all screens 45 minutes before bedtime

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For some BYU-Hawaii students, their phones or computers do not turn off until seconds before they drift off to sleep. Doctors have confirmed bright screens are disrupting people’s sleeping patterns, reports WebMD, and both tired and well-rested BYUH students and Laie community members alike agreed with the medical professionals conclusions. “Every night I turn the TV off and any other electronic at least one hour before my kids’ bed time,” said Laie community member Rebecca Miller. She continued, “Not every night am I able to get the electronics off right before bed, and on those nights the kids wake up cranky.” Miller also said due to implementing a no electronics rule before bedtime, she and her husband have also followed the rule and have noticed an improvement in the quality of their sleep as well.The National Sleep Foundation advises people should turn off bright screens at least 45 minutes before going to bed to be able to fall asleep quicker and sleep more soundly. Trinity Waddell, a biology junior from Texas, said, “Even if I did turn off my laptop and phone an hour before I went to bed, I still couldn’t avoid the bright screens from my roommates.”Published this year in the BMJ journal, a 2012 study done by a team of doctors in western Norway did an investigation of 10,000 teenagers from age 16-19 and found out using an electronic device in the hour before bedtime badly affects both onset of sleep and its duration. Yahoo reported Mari Hysing, a researcher who is part of the study, said teenagers are going to bed later because screen time eats into sleep time.Researchers found, “In particular, teens who used a computer or mobile phone in the last hour were 52% and 48% likelier to take more than 60 minutes to fall asleep. They were also 53% and 35% likelier to lose out on two or more hours of sleep.“Somewhat smaller risks of delayed or shortened sleep were observed among youngsters who used an MP3 player, tablet, game console or TV in the final hour before bedtime,” says study results published in The Guardian.In 2011, the Nation Sleep Foundation reported, “Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed at night suppresses release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness and shifts circadian rhythms to a later hour – making it more difficult to fall asleep,” says Charles Czeisler, PhD., Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who was a part of the National Sleep Foundation. “This study reveals that light-emitting screens are in heavy use within the pivotal hour before sleep. Invasion of such alerting technologies into the bedroom may contribute to the high proportion of respondents who reported that they routinely get less sleep than they need.” Nobu Suzuki, an operations and supply chain junior from Japan, said, “Every night it depends what I am doing on how long it is from when I have no electronics on to going to sleep. If I have homework, I go right to bed after I turn of my computer.” However, Suzuki added if turning of electronics an hour before going to bed improved his grades in school, he would do it. Business Insider reported from Gigaom Research that the blue light--which is full light on the spectrum that people are exposed to every day in the sun--from electronics has been linked to physical and mental problems. At night, the exposure to blue light damages your vision and suppresses the production of the melatonin hormone. This throws off the natural sleeping cues from the body. Business Insider says when melatonin levels and sleep cycles are disrupted, there is a higher risk of getting health problems like depression or even cancer.
Writer: Jessica Tautfest